Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

Summer Employment for History Grad Students?


goldielocks
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

Just a quick question. I'm trying to scope out opportunities for next summer, when I'll be done with my MA and (hopefully) transitioning into a PhD program in the fall.

Does anyone have any suggestions/experiences about field-related work for grad students over the summer months? I am willing to (temporarily) relocate and/or travel. Grading exams? I think the AP exams are primarily for faculty. Any summer camps, college prep or otherwise? Anything?

Thanks very much, as always.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why don't you take the summer to do something different? Chances are, when you finish your MA, you'll be a little tired and you certainly don't want to go to PhD programs exhausted. It may be nice to continue to work in the field but doing something different may give you a new or different perspective. I worked as a camp counselor last summer. Yes, I was yearning for academia halfway through but working with 6 year olds and a bunch of teenagers provide a very good challenge and allowed me to see sides of myself that I had never really saw. I wouldn't trade that summer for anything else. I don't think I did anything history-related for 8-10 weeks because I was just too tired when I came home. But the time away certainly helped me to find real energy to start my job in the field and now I just love my work far more than I expected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why don't you take the summer to do something different? Chances are, when you finish your MA, you'll be a little tired and you certainly don't want to go to PhD programs exhausted. It may be nice to continue to work in the field but doing something different may give you a new or different perspective. I worked as a camp counselor last summer.

Thanks TMP. Yes, as noted in the original post, summer camp is one idea I'm looking at. I've spent my entire academic career working to put myself through school (no parental help, no cosigner for undergraduate loans), so I've spent enough summers (and falls, and springs for that matter) "doing something different" (read: slinging drinks, waiting tables, etc.). I'm just trying to find any opportunity that meets the following criteria:

1. It pays decently

2. It will keep my mind occupied so I'm not just thinking about moving/fall the whole summer

3. It won't make me want to jump off of a bridge

4. Bonus points if it is related to History, or at least pedagogy.

I'm glad to hear you liked your summer camp experience. And I do appreciate the suggestion about taking a break from academia. I'm sure we would all benefit from that, in some capacity.

Edited by goldielocks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recommend that you consider the advantages of a summer internship at a consultancy. Depending upon the specific industry, one can develop expertise that may transfer to the study of history. Also, one can gain a different perspective on how to manage relationships--not a bad skill to have in the Ivory Tower.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I suggested stepping out of academia for a while. I think it's helped me to be more assertive when engaging with academics. Working with kids, of any age, can give you a profound experience in a way because you're not intellectually engaged, which allows you explore "you" more deeply. This kind of interaction gives you a chance to get to know who you really are and how you truly work without being overwhelmed with information and criticism and other things that tests your ego/self-esteem.

For example, I incredibly disliked taking my campers to the playground while my teenage co-workers liked it in order to avoid "taking care of them." But I realized that this quiet time for me, while watching the kids, gave me a chance to go over any problems and issues that I was having with my group and co-counselors and reflect quietly. I said to myself, "My gosh, I'm a real problem-solver. I really like doing this. I want to be the most effective person possible." This certainly translated very well into my current job (relating to academia) and research projects. I told my supervisors upfront that I wanted challenging projects and take on tasks that involved any "detective" work. Now I love all of my projects and they've given me mundane tasks like copying on less frequent basis. ;)

You also learn to manage workplace politics that won't kill your entire career (maybe just the job at the workplace itself). You learn when it's time to "skip" the chain of command and go right to the top when there's a conflict.

And I do have a MA, like you. Take this opportunity of time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many living history sites hire seasonal employees. The pay isn't great (but depending on location, isn't bad, either), but it's relevant experience. It doesn't matter if the location/geographic period itself is relevant to what you're studying -- you'll still benefit from helping make history interesting and relevant for a modern crowd. I've also learned a great deal from giving tours of historic houses.

I see your focus is modern Britain; not sure what the current visa requirements are like, but you may qualify for a student/intern summer visa to work in the UK. Maybe you could manage a summer job at a National Trust site or something.

I have a friend who spent an amazing summer working at a national park. They do a lot of seasonal hiring for a wide variety of jobs.

Summer camps are great, too. I did that one summer, and had a lot of fun. If you go the overnight camp route you also get free room and board, not to mention fewer opportunities to spend your money. And being "on" all the time certainly makes the time fly by fast! How are your language skills? If good, you may want to check out the Concordia Language Villages in northern Minnesota; they are really at the top of their game at what they do. Lots of teachers and grad students working at them during the summer, too (and from a wide variety of disciplines), and even some professors. I think some of my own early experiences as a camper were instrumental in leading me to pursue history as a career. (yes, they're "language" camps, but they focus on the total cultural/historical context of the countries where the languages are spoken.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.