The Lilly Internship was something I was always interested in participating in, even as a prospective student. During my visit to Millsaps my senior year in high school, my admissions counselor told me about the program, describing how the internship offers students the ability to learn more about their own values and views of the world while exploring a profession that is of interest to them. I knew immediately that this was a program that I would love to partake in.
In the fall of my junior year at Millsaps, I enrolled in the internship course, telling Raymond Clothier, the director of the program, that I was interested in law. He inquired as to whether there was a particular type of law that I would be interested in exploring, but I was open to all areas.
I received a letter at the beginning of the semester that informed me that I would be working at the Hinds County Public Defender's Office. Immediately, I was apprehensive about this position because defense work was not something that was appealing to me. I decided to give the internship a try, however, and was rewarded with one of my best college experiences.
I had originally pictured myself spending my semester in a conventional law office, running mundane errands, but getting work experience that would benefit my résumé and learning about what types of law I would be interested in. Working at the public defender's office, however, was entirely different from what I imagined for myself. I cannot think of one uninteresting day in the office. Every week, I was able to go to the courthouse to watch trials, go to the jail to interview clients, and read through police reports to familiarize myself with the current cases. Each day was new and exciting, and I experienced far more than I thought I would as an intern.
I learned more than I had ever expected, as well, both about the law and about myself. I had never given a lot of thought to criminal law, knowing that defense work was not something I would be interested in, but working for the public defender opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities. I now know that I would never be satisfied working for a large corporation or law office. I need a job that is stimulating and varies from day to day. From my work at the public defender's office, I was able to meet some of Hinds County's Assistant District Attorneys, and I have come to believe that this may be a job that would enjoy.
One of the greatest things about the Lilly Internship Programs is that if a student enjoys it, he or she is able to continue with the program for a second semester, exploring another field of work and learning more about themselves and their role their community. I hope to continue with my own exploration next semester, perhaps at the Hinds County District Attorney's office. This program is so valuable to students because they are able to learn about and experience vocations that would be satisfying to them prior to graduation, making their passage into the workforce much less intimidating and instilling the confidence in them that they will need to succeed.