There were many reasons I wanted to take part in a rhetoric research internship. First, I wanted to learn more about the rhetorical theories of deliberation outside of my spring 2015 RHE-290 Deliberation course. Second, I hoped to prepare myself well for a potential working relationship with the Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse Initiative, as I will begin my position as a Wabash Democracy Fellow this fall. Third, I desired an internship that would strengthen my writing—this was definitely the right internship for that! Lastly, I was seeking an internship that would have structured times to mimic most jobs in the workplace and work in a team atmosphere, but still had an emphasis on individual time management and workload.
I learned a great deal through this internship. As a writer, I enhanced my outlining and organization techniques because of the internship’s focus on emphasis of quality work through creating specific, strong arguments in a scholarly paper. The most challenging part of this internship was at times, I would feel lost on the objective of what we are trying to prove with a point, and found it difficult to come up with supportable claims. This, I felt, was one of the most beneficial obstacles I came across in my academic life. In the real world, a job with a single task in an office that is repeated daily rarely exists. Everyday, there will be tasks given that have a ambiguous goal with no previously identified way to approach the problem or to tackle a solution with a set plan. This, I feel, is the crux of the liberal arts degree; to be handed a task and to be able to think analytically and critically about how to approach this task using the breadth of knowledge and skills one possess. At the times, my co-intern Connor and I were navigating in gray areas and unsure of where to go in the paper, we had to rely on our intuition and some ingenuity with a dash of tenacity to get through the harder points of the drafts. It was rewarding to not be spoon-fed the answer to, “Well, what do I do to accomplish that?” Connor and I had to figure out that answer on our own, with guidance at the earlier stages from Professor Drury.
This internship has given me so much. I have experience in researching as a rising sophomore in college that has sparked an interest in looking further into a potential career path in the academic field. I have gained skills related to writing that was discussed in the previous paragraph. It has given me a job I felt was mentally stimulating every time I walked into the office, and has furthered my intrigue with rhetorical analysis. Whether that interest transcends into a paper for a class, research, or a potential career in the law or the academic world, the experience reassured I am somewhere on the right path. Additionally, it has given me a great base to reach for harder-to-land internships, and interpersonal skills in a team setting that are highly marketable. I was extremely fortunate to have such an internship straight out of my freshman year of college, and hope to continue striving for amazing internships and opportunities to better myself.
**Thanks to Wabash College and Division II for sponsoring this internship**