I am in Boston right now, interning at East Boston High School, helping a group of four students through their junior year and helping them get on the college path. For the first time in my life, I have the freedom to take ideas and implement them in any way that I want to. After being at Dartmouth for a year and a half, I was yearning to implement what I had learned, to finally make a direct impact on someone’s life. I can gladly say that I have achieved just that. At the end of winter term, I was accepted as a SEAD (Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth) intern. The program selects a few number of students with high potential but who are not necessarily living up to it and places them through academic and personal guidance with the end goal of getting them to college and through college. There are five schools that send students to Dartmouth every summer for them to go through a 2-3 week session in which they work on study skills, college applications, take classes and have fun.
So what is the role of an intern in this? It is my responsibility to make sure that they are staying on track and that they are fulfilling the potential that we have seen that they possess. Part of my job is helping them with the classes they are struggling with as well as making sure that they are working on organizational skills and are preparing a solid college resume. In addition, one of the best parts of the internship is becoming friends with them and giving them someone to look up to. Each student poses a different challenge such as attendance, putting enough effort to do more than get by, outside-of-school responsibilities, and accountability, but that is what I appreciate from the internship. Unlike taking classes, there is no systematic way of going about this internship and ensuring success. I have to evaluate and re-evaluate my approaches almost daily to ensure effectiveness. Being “on site” is so much different than learning theories and studying case studies in a classroom. This is so much more challenging and so much more real.
I think that the main point of this post is letting you guys know about how important an internship is during college or even through high school. Learning about a subject (in my case, about education and socio-economic factors) is very different from seeing it with your own eyes. Whether you are in college or even if you are still in high school, I recommend taking advantage of internship opportunities in whatever you are interested in. Interested in being a doctor? Volunteer at your local hospital! Interested in being a lawyer? Ask your congressman or your city’s mayor for any type of opportunity that will let you know what a lawyer does. Be resourceful!