Monday, January 31, 2011

J-Term Productivity (& even a little laziness)

Returning to snowy, cold Minnesota and lovely Macalester means, for most of us, returning to a regular schedule and being thrown right back into classes, homework, jobs, internships, extracurriculars, volunteering... and all the dozens of other wonderful things Macalester students involve themselves in. As my fellow bloggers have noted, however, there is actually quite a lot to be done over J-Term- if one is so inclined- which will keep your brain from going on Standby for the whole winter. For the first time, I decided not to bore myself to death over the 5ish weeks of break and to take on a J-Term internship.

In November, I started working as an intern and research assistant with history professor James Stewart, collaborating with him on building a website for his newly founded anti-slavery organization, Historians Against Slavery. As an International Studies and Media & Cultural Studies major with a Human Rights focus, this project appealed to many of my interests. So, it seemed logical to continue my contribution into the January term, when I could dedicate more time and energy to the project (not to mention receive 2 academic credits for it!). Since I already had plans to go home for the winter, I worked from home, doing research for 40 hours a week and compiling data about human trafficking and modern-day slavery into a database which will eventually be incorporated into the Historians Against Slavery website, www.historiansagainstslavery.org. Now, Professor Stewart and I are in the process of founding an anti-slavery organization at Mac, and Historians Against Slavery has been featured in an issue of Inside Higher Education (which can be found here).

The point is, it's very easy not to just be a lazy bum over break, watching the entire list of the Top 50 Most Romantic Movies of all time (which I may or may not have done, too...). Not only is an internship a really valuable experience, but I feel like I learned a ton about an issue which I'm now very passionate about.

Until next time,
Lia