Internship Blog: Greg Tremblay #2

Part 2: How I Became an Intern at the Historical Society

            Hi, and welcome back!  If you don’t remember, I’m Greg and am a 43-year-old intern at the Cumberland County Historical Society and a senior at Shippensburg University.  I am a father, husband and a veteran, serving 21 years in the U.S. Navy.

So, I left off last time explaining that at some point in our lives we realize that we cannot dunk a basketball, among other things. Well, I realized in year two of my second-half-of-life-journey (year two of my retirement from active duty) that calculus just was not happening for me.

What’s a fella ta do? Why, switch my major to history, of course! Remember would-be husbands: always consult with your wife on even the little things. Trust me. There are many reasons for this, and they’re all good reasons – if you want to live a long and prosperous life side-by-side with a wonderful woman.

My wife made a statement and then asked me one question. She said, “At this stage of your life, a degree is a degree. You’re not a kid with no life experience trying to break into a job market.” Then she asks, “What is it that is going to make you happy?”

The switch was on. My advisor made the shift. I got hooked up with Dr. Steven Burg, who became my advisor. He has been a great part of my collegiate experience at “Ship”. If some of you recognize that name, it’s because he co-authored the Cumberland County Comprehensive Plan and Inventory and Analysis of Historic Preservation Ordinances in Pennsylvania Municipalities.

What I quickly realized though, is that I might not be able to graduate on time. I had already taken a couple of other classes to fit into my business degree plan that had no place in the history degree plan. My GI Bill runs out at the end of this semester. Ultimately, this means that I will probably be paying for two classes out-of-pocket in the fall of this year to finish up. There is another lesson here, too: college ain’t cheap, and you have to pay to play. Making major life changes almost always has a cost, and I do not necessarily mean monetary.

Although in this case, yes, it is monetary!

Fast forward a year or so. I’m wrapping up full COVID semester 1 in the fall of 2020 and am looking for classes to register for. I needed four classes. One was a requirement: Seminar in Comparative History. I also saw the History of the Byzantine Empire and the History of Mexico.  Awesome, I took all three, but I needed one more.

Doc Burg recommended an internship and put me in touch with the Ship intern coordinator, Dr Allen Dieterich-Ward.

I spent a couple weeks searching around, trying to find places that would take me on at the 11th hour. See, usually internships are a little more planned out in advance. I had about a month before the next semester (Spring 2021) began.

Here’s where things got a little funnier, though. In my search, I came across the Historical Society. I had no idea that it existed. Prior to retirement, my wife and I had been coming up to Carlisle for years to visit – her father is an Army retiree, and he taught at the U.S. Army College. Carlisle is where we decided to establish our roots back in 2017, as well.

As much as I love history, I never knew there was a Cumberland County Historical Society. What’s even funnier is that I drove by it every single day on the way home from school.

Long story short, I exchanged some emails with Cara Curtis at the Historical Society. They needed someone to continue a project that the previous intern was working on. So, they took me on.

There is one other thing I wanted to mention about becoming an intern at 43 years old: I actually had great apprehension with becoming an intern.

And it was because I was 43 years old. There is more to it than that, so let me explain.

Before signing on, I thought a lot about whether or not interning would be a good fit for me. I mean, the typical intern is, what, 19-21 years old?

As for me, I had been put through the ringer. My whole life, actually. I asked myself if it was going to be worth it to go work at a place, not getting paid, to be in a position that a young adult would normally be in. In my mind, I didn’t know if I could do it. I’ve travelled the world.  I’ve worked with, for and led thousands of Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and civilians, including military personnel from other countries, too. I’ve been a part of things other people can only imagine. I was the gruff leader, ensuring “mission first, people always.”

If we are to progress in life, we have to learn how to make adjustments. I equate it to dialing in the optic on my rifle. Do I need to dial it in at 50 yards? Or 200? Or longer? And you have to keep it clean and lubricated – because it always needs to be ready to go.

It is definitely an adjustment, though, going from being on top of your game in the military, leading and managing dozens of personnel at a time or more, to make sure you do your part to ensure your unit is the most effective, lethal fighting force in the most effective, lethal fighting force on the planet.

This is where the previously aforementioned Cara Curtis comes in, as well as who I would consider my first line supervisor Tristin Milazzo. Cara is the one who brought me on, and technically my site supervisor. Tristin is a recent graduate of Ship who was rewarded for her hard work and dedication with a job post-graduation.

These two people were to be key to my experience at the Historical Society. They did a fantastic job of getting me acclimated to an environment that was completely foreign to me.

And that is where we will pick up next time.

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