Oberlin Blogs

A Spring Time Winter Term

May 7, 2021

Charlize Villasenor ’23

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know Oberlin switched to a three-term year for the 2020-2021 academic year. If you did not know that, now you’ve been made aware. So traditionally, Oberlin students take on a project, internship, or a course in January for their winter term. Due to the three-semester year, winter term looked a bit different this time around. Some students did their winter term during the fall through the Junior Practicum or a language course; some students did their winter term during the winter/spring through the Sophomore Practicum or a language course. I took the Sophomore Practicum this year and opted to match with an internship through the college. The Sophomore Practicum was a month-long series of sessions that consisted of difficult conversations and listening to speakers in different fields in order to think more deeply about what we as students wanted for our futures. The internships that followed the practicum correlated with what students wanted to major in or explore as a career.

Oberlin alumni and parents could create or sponsor multiple internships for students during both Junior and Sophomore Practicums. My internship was through a former Obie who works at RCA Records, but since I’m interested in working in the legal field, I was able to work closely with one of the in-house attorneys. I had projects to work on and the freedom to finish them in the timeframes I saw fit; with the general guideline, I would be working about 10-12 hours a week for about 8 weeks. Oberlin provided students with $800 in funding so we would be able to pursue these internships, which I definitely appreciated! I was able to balance working a part-time job and my internship duties better due to the funding. Even though I originally had my sights set on something that was more closely related to the area of public interest, I gained a new perspective on entertainment law and am now looking into law schools that are highly ranked in that concentration. I was able to get a glimpse at the legal language used in the music industry by reading contracts and creating quotes for artists who wanted to use samples. Additionally, Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company of RCA Records, had an internship going on at the same time, so I was able to network with the interns across different labels owned by Sony. The experience was definitely rewarding as I read contracts, listened to unreleased music, sat in on meetings, and more. 

Though part of me is always looking for a new experience, another part of me truly enjoyed my internship with RCA Records and wants to see more of what the music industry has to offer. There are so many record labels that I could intern with a different one every summer and winter term without getting bored. Though I wasn’t initially considering working in entertainment law, I have a newfound appreciation for it, and I know it’s a path I wouldn’t mind taking. Before I end this post, my piece of advice: you’re headed where you’re meant to be, so don’t stress too much about where you think you’re “supposed” to be.

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