AETN > Educators > Educator's Blog > AETN Guest Blogger Jack Smith - Interning at AETN and Life Beyond Academia

AETN Guest Blogger Jack Smith - Interning at AETN and Life Beyond Academia

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The funny thing about a liberal arts degree is that you really don’t know where it’s going to take you.  Honestly, it feels like the academic equivalent of a dandelion seed sometimes, hoping that whatever gust of wind that comes along can bring you to a place where you’ll be able to grow and thrive.  At least, that’s what I tell myself sometimes when I see graduation looming on the horizon. I’m Jack Smith, a senior at Hendrix College, and I’ve spent most of the past few months doing my absolute best to prove to myself that going out into the world beyond academia won’t actually be as terrifying as I’ve tricked myself into believing.  Thankfully, working here at AETN for the past few months has been really helpful for me in that regard. 
 
Because of Hendrix’s Odyssey Program, I’ve been forced to engage myself in learning experiences outside of the bounds of regular schooling, and one such experience has been this internship with AETN’s Marketing and Outreach department.  I started working here back in September and have to say that I have learned a lot in my time here, more than I ever really thought that I would when I first started working.  I mean, first and foremost, I learned that I can actually work with AP Style, even if it does have no idea about how necessary the Oxford Comma actually is.

But there’s so much else, too.  Because of this internship, I’ve met a lot of people who have seemed genuinely interested in me and what I want to do with my life and who have gone out of their way to make this entire experience a wholly enjoyable one for me.  Not that I’m sucking up or anything (maybe a little, I do technically still work here for a little while longer, after all), but I feel so much better about the possibilities that the world holds in store for me after having spent some time here.  I found out about the existence of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and wound up helping out with a student workshop at it, an experience that taught me that I might not dislike interacting with children nearly as much as I thought.  I also learned how to write press releases and, obviously, what goes into writing a blog post for a website like this. 
 
More than any of that, though, I learned just how supportive and fun a group of people really could be for a random college kid without any real work experience.  I learned that networking didn’t have to be an entirely negative thing, and I found out that there’s a lot more out there in the world than what I had initially thought.  It’s more than possible for me, or anyone really, to go out and find a place where I can do something that I care about while also making a living and experiencing the wider world.  The people are what matter, I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make here, and I think that’s the most important lesson that I’ve learned here.  So even though I’m going to be gone soon, I’ll do everything I can to keep in touch with the people I’ve met here and to maintain the relationships that we’ve created.  It’s been a blast, guys.  Thanks so much for everything, you’re all wonderful and I’m so happy that I got to spend my last semester of college with you.


To apply for a position as an AETN intern or to learn more about our internship opportunities, contact Karen Walker at kwalker@aetn.org.