Internships @ Drake

Internship. It can be a scary word for college students. One that conjures up images of coffee-fetching, menial drudgery, or the strategically worded resume. We’re often told that you can’t go anywhere post-grad without some successful internships under your belt. And though I think that philosophy is perhaps a little dramatic, it’s not entirely untrue. In fact, probably the main reason I came to Drake is because I knew there was a plethora of internship opportunities to give me real world experience before I even left college. Being situated right in the heart of Des Moines, means Drake is connected to massive industries just minutes from campus. And to be honest, most college towns just simply can’t compete with those resources.

I’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of Drake’s location and connections for some incredible internships in my college career. I spent a year at the Meredith Corporation working for and alongside some of the biggest names in magazine publishing. Then I spent the summer pursuing my dream of non-profit communications. This year, I’m working as a marketing and communications intern with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa. In this position, I get to travel to the different Boys & Girls Club sites in the Des Moines area, write stories and take photography to illustrate the stories of club kids, and work on social media promotion. Essentially, I get to do what I love while hanging out with some really awesome kids. Sorry if this sounds braggy, but what I’m saying is that my job is kind of the best.

Some of the Boys & Girls Club kids. Who wouldn't wanna hang out with those cuties?

Some of the Boys & Girls Club kids. Who wouldn’t wanna hang out with those cuties?

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Drake has been entrenched in my internship experience from the very beginning. Not only did I get the job because my future boss came to speak in one of my classes, but I often work in a club site right across from campus, and collaborate with Drake students and alumni in the Boys & Girls Club organization every day. And maybe the best part? There’s nary a coffee run in sight.

Obviously I talk about myself quite a bit, but my experience is definitely not unique. Every Drake student I know has had at least one internship experience, and perhaps more importantly, at least one truly meaningful internship experience with real responsibilities and learning opportunities. So I’ll revise the previously stated internship maxim. It’s not that you can’t go anywhere post-grad without some successful internships under your belt. It’s that you’ll go so much further and be much so better prepared if you have completed meaningful internships. Although I’m just now figuring this out, I guess Drake has known it all along.

Homemade Drake Hot Chocolate Recipe

Growing up, some of my favorite memories took place in the cheery warmth of my grandma’s kitchen. Okay, I know this is not exactly a groundbreaking narrative, but bear with me. As a kid off school for winter break, I would trek to southern Missouri for sleepovers at Nana’s house to relax, play games, watch movies, and of course, eat. And through we had a ton of fun baking and cooking, the best was undoubtedly breakfast and the homemade hot chocolate that came with it. I would cuddle up in Nana’s green recliner, most likely sporting some seriously cool snowman pajamas, and watch the snow pile up on the giant black walnut tree outside while I enjoyed the greatest hot chocolate of all time.

These days, years later, I have grown up a little. I am a college student, after all. But my fledgling adult status doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy some good, old-fashioned hot chocolate (and some snowman pajamas too, for that matter.) In fact, I’ve kind of reclaimed the homemade hot chocolate tradition to become a staple of my Drake life. As cold weather encroaches, I begin to crave the calm and winter cheer of a cup of cocoa. So, in celebration of the impending Drake basketball season and all things winter, I present my own Drake hot chocolate recipe (as best as I’ve been able to replicate and quantify my grandma’s brilliant process.)

The finished product!

The finished product!

1. Retrieve your favorite saucepan (or if you’re me, your only saucepan.)

2. Add a dash of water to the pot, probably just a little less than a cup.

3. Then, dump in ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and ¾ cup of sugar. I also like to add a couple pinches of salt.

4. Heat up the mixture and keep stirring it until it starts boiling, then turn down the heat

5. Now, it’s time for the milk. 2% probably tastes best, but gradually add 5 cups of your choice of milk to the mixture, making sure to keep it warm and keep stirring.

6. At this point, add in an optional teaspoon of vanilla extract, and give your hot chocolate one final stir!

7. Get out your favorite Drake/Bulldog-themed mug, and fill her up with the warm hot chocolate straight from the saucepan. Top with whipped cream and an assortment of blue and white sprinkles.

8. Drink up, enjoy, and Go Bulldogs!

The Last Registration

Today I did something pretty crazy: I registered for my final semester of classes at Drake University. Okay, so maybe crazy is a relative term. But honestly, it’s hard to believe that I’m nearing the end of my college career and selecting the courses that will cement my Drake education. And yet, here I am. In the grand tradition of senior year nostalgia, it’s only natural that my last registration should cause me to reflect on all my previous registration periods. The stress, the worry, the late night snacks, and the early morning cramming, praying to get first pick of classes have all come flooding back. And in this reflection, two things have become clear:

I’m still the same student I always was.

Planning for the long-term has never been my strong suit, so picking out classes months in advance has always been a little counter-intuitive. Nonetheless, I acquiesce to the demands of higher education bureaucracy by planning and plotting, projecting and outlining my courses months, and even years, ahead of time. But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily go smoothly, and in fact, it never has. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. And that I certainly am. I will inevitably wait until the last moments to pick out courses, thereby leaving my future in the hands of a sleep-deprived version of myself high on sugar and pure panic. And yet, it always turns out okay. I’m not saying I won’t eventually face the impetus of change, forcing me to responsibly plan out my life decisions, but that day is not today. Mac Miller once said “I Am Who I Am”, just as Popeye told us “I Yam What I Yam.” I stand by both of these gentleman as the same person I was when I began my Drake journey four years ago.

And yet, I’m so much different.

I started the process of registering for classes at Drake with my checklists in hand. I knew what I needed to take to get my two degrees and thought of little else than following my prescribed course listings. Now in my senior year, that outlook is almost unfathomable. I’m not saying that the courses dictated by my majors aren’t essential, helpful, and enlightening, because they are. But what I’ve come to realize is that the best learning experiences I’ve had at Drake have come from me pushing boundaries and stepping outside my academic comfort zone. So these days, the checklist is less of a rulebook and more of a guide. This semester, I’ve chosen courses that will challenge me and force me grow, courses I probably never would have picked for myself four years ago. I’ll be tackling subjects such as colonialism in Africa, women in the Renaissance, European Nationalism, and magazine production, not necessarily because I have to take them, but because I want to. Because I’m genuinely excited for my last chance to soak up all the Drake knowledge I can. And yeah, that might be the definition of a nerd, but I think it’s also the definition of personal, professional, and academic growth. So, there.