Last week, a friend from Trinity visited me here in Rome, Italy, where I am currently studying as a member of Trinity’s Rome Program. Although we went sight-seeing and tried new restaurants together, the majority of my friend’s time was not spent with me, but rather in an office. Indeed, as a first-semester senior who was already offered a job in Rome, she had spent last week enjoying an employer-paid visit to attend a week-long conference. Come July, her job will officially begin.
I asked her how she had gotten so lucky. She replied simply, “I interned there last summer.”
My friend’s experience reinforced what I had already suspected, that internships are an integral and necessary rite of passage for any successful college student. Yet, from the experience of most millennials, these internships are also often unpaid and, depending on where you are from, could be inconveniently located. Certainly, finding the perfect internship, and later, the perfect job, can be a very daunting task. Fortunately, Trinity College is an incredible resource.
Prior to the beginning of my first year, all members of my incoming class were invited to an alumnus/alumna-hosted event, located at the home or club of the alum. There were multiple events hosted throughout that summer, in locations spanning the entire nation, so that as many students as possible could partake. These meet-and-greets were attended by many alumni, current-students, professors and other incoming first years. Notably, these events occur every year, for every Trinity-class. Apart from being an occasion to make new friends or to meet your professors, it also presents an amazing networking opportunity.
Such was my experience when I attended a reception in the Hamptons, Long Island, at the home of a highly successful entrepreneur whose business had gross sales in excess of 500 million dollars. She was not simply a gracious hostess, but very generously provided me her contact information with an offer to apply for an internship with her Manhattan-based company during the summer of my junior year.
Without question, the Bantam alumni are a tight-knit group who are dedicated to transitioning the next generation of graduates into the work place.
However, if offers from alumni are not enough, there is also an on-campus Career Development Center. There, you can find leads for internships, seek help creating a resume, schedule a mock job interview or simply seek advice from a career advisor.
Notably, Trinity also offers rare and unique student research opportunities. Since Trinity does not have a science-graduate program, all of its’ research is conducted by its’ undergraduate students. As early as your first year, you can begin to conduct professional research alongside your professors. Many of my friends who are majoring in Engineering and Biology have benefited from these programs. They spend their summers on Trinity’s campus, taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity that so few other institutions of higher learning offer.
As for me, I am currently teaching English to children ranging in ages from 8-12 years at a middle school here in Rome. I obtained this internship through Trinity’s Rome Program, which offers countless other opportunities depending on your level of Italian competency. For instance, if you speak little to no Italian, you can work with an Italian (but English-speaking) chef. Or, if you’re fluent in the native language, you can give tours in museums or conduct research in basilicas alongside church authorities. There are a variety of internships that fall along this spectrum, such as my position at the middle school. It certainly has been one of the most satisfying and transformative experiences of my life, and I do not doubt that it has given me skills and experiences that will help me secure a job in the future.
Although the prospect of searching for internships and jobs can be stressful, it is reassuring to know that Trinity’s wide-ranging alumni connections, offered-programs, and opportunities available in locations such as Hartford and even Rome, guarantees something for everyone. As I prepare to enter my senior year and graduation draws near, I am confident that Trinity will provide me with all of the necessary tools to successfully transition to the work place and that, if I utilize them, the future will be mine for the taking!