To not be waiting tables anymore. When State Auditor Tim Berry spoke to my intern class mere weeks ago, he began impromptu crowd-picking—‘Why did you do this internship??’ (Yes, with two question marks). This was going to be my answer: to not be waiting tables anymore. Despite my ambitious peers’ responses about their burning passion to know state government better and their devotion for politics, I was ready to be honest. Lucky for the other interns (and probably more lucky for me), Auditor Berry never picked me. However, I was picked for this internship out of a very large pool of political science, criminal justice, and international relations majors. And yet, I majored in English.
The internship’s official title is Legislative Intern. Since the beginning of 2011, I spend five days a week inside of that luminous building in front of Lucas Oil Stadium called the Statehouse. I work for two senators, assisting with everything from constituent correspondence (via e-mail, letters, and phone calls), to committee coverage, to racing my senator’s computer from one marble-tiled floor to another. You see, I had no particular political ambitions, to say the least. But now that I find myself here—in a fine-looking suit—I’m entirely enamored with it. And I know my writing background, including all the effort I put into it during my four-year stay at Hotel Ball State, had everything to do with why I have this internship.
My specialty was Creative Writing, but I spent just as much time and probably more passion on my literature classes. Thus, by graduation in May of last year, I had done every type of writing imaginable, and it has truly paid off. My present job requires me to be able to understand and utilize each type of writing I learned at Ball State. I write thank you letters, letters of recommendation, letters of support for other bills, letters to constituents on smoking ban bills, taxes in Illinois, education reform, and on and on. The Legislative Assistant that I work directly under is thrilled that I am writing-savvy. She no longer checks my letters, but passes them right on for senator approval. I have seen through this experience that not everyone speaks the delicate language of writing, yet it is oh-so-valued.
In the bigger picture, I know this is a lasting love affair with my English major. I will be returning to my roots in the fall with an internship at Sarabande Books, Inc., a small independent publishing press in Louisville, KY. After that, I want to continue to be a nomad, wandering different avenues of careers and locations. I am quite confident (perhaps, partly because I’m still wearing my awesome suit) that my English major will take me wherever I want to go next. There will always be employers who need skilled writers to communicate their awesomeness to the public/clients. Erego, a job.
Allow yourself to be swept away by the major. You won’t regret it.
*Sam Edwards is our second alumnus to receive an internship from Sarabande Books, Inc. Check out alumnus Evan Himelick’s post on his experience with the press here.