I strolled into the small cafeteria with a clueless expression on my face. Once I sat down, and all my fellow seniors were quiet, 12th Grade Learning Specialist Ms. Ball walked to the front of the room with a huge smile and said, “Welcome to Senior Project!”
I was curious as to what senior project was all about back on that December day. When I heard that I was not going to school for three weeks in May, I was immediately excited about starting the project.
Senior project is a unique experience that gives the seniors a look into how the world operates outside of Woodlynde School.
The seniors set up an internship, which they then attend for three weeks in May, instead of going to school. From Monday, May 13, to Friday, May 31, they work on their internships. When they come back to school, they have to do a presentation about their experiences in front of their peers, and a few teachers and administrators.
Some of the previous senior projects have been unusual.
One student (Ben Hermans) flew across the country and worked at a company called ScentAir that made scents that travel through stores, according to tenth grade Learning Specialist Mrs. Smith, who was in charge of senior projects for three years, until Ms. Ball took over this year. The product is kind of like Febreze, but moves through the air vents, so people smell it and want to buy that specific scent.
Finding a senior project can be extremely stressful. It involves a lot of research, and either meeting with, emailing, or calling the people in charge of the companies.
When I was looking for my internship, the research was causing some anxiety, because I was having a hard time finding positions. Eventually, I found a few potential openings and locked in an internship at the Indian Valley Public Library.
The first few days of senior project can be stressful, so Mrs. Smith advises, “Be on time, dress appropriately, and really take notice and appreciate everything you like/dislike, so that when you apply for internships/future jobs, you know what to and what not to look for.”
Seniors have worked at a variety of locations in the past.
“Some of the previous seniors have worked at a lot of schools (Stratford Friends), retail (Calico Corners), construction (Habitat for Humanity), animal shelters (Best Friends Sanctuary, in Utah), libraries, car dealerships (Land Rover of the Main Line), and WMMR (a radio station),” Mrs. Smith said.
According to Mrs. Smith, when the seniors go out on their internships, they learn how the working world works. They will have a boss who will tell them what they need to do each day.
Some of the seniors have loved their internships so much, they have found summer jobs where they interned.
The point of the internship is for the seniors to find a place to work that they are interested in. Most of the time, that challenge is accomplished. However, every once in a while, at least one senior interns at a place that they don’t like.
“Not everyone was thrilled [with their project], and not everyone came out liking it,” Mrs. Smith said.
But sometimes that can be a good thing. “It shows that they don’t want to go into that career path.”
Either way, it is a good learning experience for the senior class, because once they get out of college, they will have to do the same process again when trying to find a full-time job.
Senior project seems like a successful and worthwhile endeavor. I can hardly wait to start my internship!