What are you enjoying the most during this experience? What could you do during the internship to help create more positive experiences like these? Have you learned anything about your work style preferences as a result?
There are many aspects of this experience that I enjoy–not ever being late for work, nobody caring if I wear sweatpants, etc. In a seriousness, I most enjoy–and I know this will sound corny, but I’ll say it anyway–learning new things. Given the nature of my digital internship, the learning experience usually takes two paths.
When I’m working on the “famous,” “celebrated,” and “celebrity,” word-frequency databases, I’m very intrigued by how these terms are used. For instance, the word “celebrated” mostly appears in advertisements–and those advertisements are almost always for medicine. One of my more humorous takeaways is that the readers and advertisers of the Times-Picayune really liked sarsaparilla–which I only recently found out is, in fact, root beer. I guess before we discovered its potential as a soda fountain favorite, we were using it to cure seemingly any ailment.
With the celebrity politician database, I’m struck by how many celebrities–so far my list consists of mostly actors and athletes–run for office. More interestingly, any conception that this “celebrity runs for office” thing is a trend means that it’s a very long trend, since many of the oldest entries come from the 1910s and 1920s. As my list expands, I know it will go back even further, but it’s always interesting when history proves a “modern” phenomenon has deeper roots than originally thought. I’m disappointed by the lack of women on the list, although I think a general list would be lacking in women as well.
Fortunately, since my favorite thing about this internship is simply doing my job–gathering data, doing research–I don’t really know how I could make it more of a positive experience beyond doing more research. Written analyses may be down the line, and I’ll be very happy to share these findings with others in and outside of the history community.
I find that when delving into this research, I work best over long stretches of hours. Unfortunately, due to my school and work schedule, this isn’t always possible, which is why I’m often logging hours on Fridays and Saturdays: I prefer knocking out ten hours across two days rather than logging two hours every weekday. However, preference only goes so far with other obligations, but I think I’m doing the best I can to balance them.