Internships are awesome. Especially when you do one where one had not previously existed.
This summer, I spent my time doing my dream job. I got to combine two of my favorite things, all while getting paid.
I was the weather forecaster for one of the top drum and bugle corps in the country.
As a meteorology major just having finished my sophomore year, I did not have a ton of experience.
For those unaware, the majority of meteorology course require an in-depth knowledge of Calculus and Physics.
This means that after my sophomore year, I only had a small amount of formal education in forecasting.
I did, however, have two years experience as a student forecaster on the campus weather service.
As far as the drum corps part goes… well, I had just been a big fan. I marched drums all my High School years, and was able to march in the band here at Millersville my freshman year. However, I was just a fan before this summer.
My dream job had been forecasting for a drum corps. Drum corps’ spend most of their days rehearsing and nights competing, and I knew from marching band how important of a role the weather plays in any outdoor activity.
I wanted to do this because of three main goals: to experience forecasting on a daily basis, to experience forecasting for different cities all over the country, and to gain experience forecasting and “nowcasting” for people that really depend on it.
Early in the spring semester last year, I decided, just for the heck of it, to submit my internship idea to The Cadets, a drum corps based in Allentown, PA.
I just gave an outline of my ideas and goals and sent away. A few days later, I got a response asking me to come in for an interview. I made the drive up to Allentown and got the internship.
One thing to note: I decided not to go through the internship office to get credit. Partially because I did not want the extra work on the already time-pressed people that I would be working for, partially because I did not want the formality of having to write a paper and partially because I did not want to pay for credits I honestly did not need.
I do not mean to knock our fantastic internship office here, but it just was not the right option for me.
Getting back to my story, in mid-June I left my family and was on the road for about six weeks.
I slept and worked out of cave carved into a box truck with my laptop and Verizon wireless broadband card gave forecasts every night and on-demand, and had an amazing time.
When it comes time to start figuring out your summer (which you can never start too early!), go for what you want.
Do not just be satisfied with the internships that get sent out over your department’s listserv.
Go out there and get it! If what you want to do does not exist, make it up! As corny as it sounds, “Seize the Opportunity” and make your dream job or internship happen.