People always say that college is a time to experiment and try new things. Of course, most of the time they are referring to hobbies or haircuts (both I have good and bad experience in, but alas, that's for another post..). I never thought I'd be looking back at that well-meaning advice in terms of possibilities, post-grad.
The Digital Humanities Internship has opened so many doors for me, and this is just the beginning of my experience here. My only experience with coding prior to this internship has been in the dawn of social media. Back when MySpace was popular, I would copy and paste different backgrounds to my profile, and use the tags I kept seeing to change the colors to my liking. At the time, I didn't think I was doing anything other than adding a personal touch to my page, but of course I was being exposed to the world of coding and computer programming.
Now at twenty one, I'm finding that there is a new world to my humble beginnings in code. Of course, the work is plentiful and time-consuming.. I've put my daily planner through a good workout trying to keep ahead with my responsivilities for classes, clubs, and meetings as well as this internship. But overall, I've found it engaging. To me, it's as if I've been given the opportunity to learn a whole new language. But this goes beyond anything Rosetta Stone would have to offer.
I feel like I can't fully express how this internship has changed my perspective if I didn't offer insight to my own professional life. My classmates and friends have always talked about life after undergraduate as being terrifying. It's more like an open sea, full of student debt collectors, collecting coupons for ramen noodles, and rain dancing for a job offer that actually applies directly to your degree. This has been even more so with the state of prospective job offers being so bleak for recent college graduates. As a Literature student, I always knew I was following my passion rather than a paycheck. But to some, it's almost laughable to wish for something in the liberal arts field that won't leave you with more month than money.
Learning code has opened me up to how tech applies to our everyday life. And really, it's unavoidable. We connect over Facebook chat and Twitter rants, sharing YouTube tutorials and Buzzfeed quizzes. Whenever someone asks us about a topic we aren't sure about, a quick Google search will lead us to a Wikipedia article as one of the top results. No longer is tech separate from out personal lives. It has become personal.
I don't feel so lost trying to navigate the space between undergraduate studies and “the real world” (the jury's still out on what that actually means). I feel better knowing “simple” things like using FileZilla to back up and transfer files, or knowing how to link CSS and HTML code in a single document. Of course, I'm not done learning all that I can, nor do I want to be. But the feeling of looking at my future with open eyes instead of silent apprehension is almost immeasurable. I can now envision myself moving into a new field I never would have considered six months ago. I wouldn't have applied (or received) to the HASTAC Scholars program for 2015. Even for the opportunities alone, I'm grateful for this internship. At least that's what I'll remind myself the next time this coding has taken me three hours and multiple cups of coffee to complete.