I’ve gotten a lot of professional advice that tends to fall along the lines of “you just have to be in the right place in the right time’ – surprisingly enough it’s gotten me a long way. Around this time last year, I was scrolling through the university’s student employment page (one of my countless boring-but-useful hobbies) and came across a listing for a position at the University of Michigan Museum of Art as a programming assistant in the education department. The museum was one of my favorite places on campus, where I could feel free to come and study, or take a study break, and peruse the rooms and rooms of art a countless number of times. Even though I already had two jobs under my belt at the time, I took about five hours and a leap of faith and applied to what I imagined would be the perfect job, the perfect opportunity that had just magically presented itself to me. And it was. The first year of my UMMA experience was amazing and eye-opening: I was finally doing a job I was interested, a job I enjoyed, and a job I was good at. It was something I could see myself doing in the future, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to keep doing it into this summer. I’ve always thought it important to have somewhat varied work experience – I’ve done everything from camp counseling, to retail – and with the guarantee of continuing my programming experience back at our campus museum, I didn’t want my three months of summer to go to waste. I wanted to do something fun and new and difficult and exciting, so I applied to everything but museums.
Then I learned about the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the best museums in the country – and a part of the Woodruff Arts Center, one of the best known art centers in the country. I found its internship page after half-heartedly Google-ing “museum internships Atlanta” while waiting to hear back from CNN, and was instantly captured. Unfortunately, I was almost too late: with only one week left to gather all my application materials, I didn’t really have time to decide exactly which internship I wanted, so I applied to whichever sounded interesting….including their own programming position in the education department. The next week, I secured an interview, and a few days later, I had the job. I may not have been headed into the position I thought I wanted – something that would push me out of my comfort zone – but maybe it would be the one I needed. I may have been moving into an equally-recognized museum – that would certainly make for a smooth transition – but I was looking at moving onto something bigger, and maybe even something better.