Saturday, May 26, 2018

Floating through internship naïveté



For most of February, I had a lingering feeling that I was neglecting something. It was the unease of finishing a day of classes yet still sensing I had missed an assignment. And then as March rolled around, it dawned on me  — and the summer internship panic set in.

Perhaps I was in denial about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, or perhaps it was the knowledge that this is my last summer when I can have an internship. Or maybe I subconsciously didn’t know where to begin, as last summer’s internship just jumped into my arms like a lost puppy.  I painlessly applied to a single internship last March through a family connection and got it, not even bothering to look elsewhere.

This is probably where my internship naïveté began.  So last week, with no similar leads, I enthusiastically began my internship search. While some say being an art history major is a big drawback in the job search, I say no way! I’m sure employers will love my dazzling personality (my friends do, don’t they?) and strong work ethic.  I’ve eagerly applied to about five or six marketing and advertising internships, and for each additional one I apply to, I wistfully muse about what a hard time I will have deciding which one to pursue. With each send button I had enthusiastically clicked, I think to myself I’d love to work at [big New York company] for the summer; they’ll love me!

My parents laugh and say they are glad I’m so optimistic about the whole process, and I continue to live in a happy state of oblivion in which I haven’t been rejected yet. I’ll give myself a week or so before I shoot back down to reality like a deflated balloon.

Although I prefer this careless, gleeful state, all experienced within the cozy cocoon of our college lives, I fear that it might be time to start thinking realistically.   A friend recently mentioned that one of the companies she was pursuing only offered jobs to about 30 percent of their interns, so she might look elsewhere. “How do you know that?” I gawked, having not even begun to think about my internship in regards to potential employment after summer.  “I asked during my interview,” she replied. I was stunned; I would never think to ask a question like that.

This was my cue, my harsh wake up call that I need to start thinking about my future realistically. And probably sooner than I had imagined.  As much fun as I was having blithely applying for internships, a cold truth began to sink in. This may not just be about this summer.  My real life may be just around the corner.  And my internship opportunities might offer a peek into what that could look like.   I know I should go and try to figure out new ways to try to make me stand out among hundreds if not thousands of other applicants.  But I think I’ll worry about that tomorrow.


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