It’s that time of year again folks. Students are updating their resumes, tapping their connections and conducting Skype interviews. That’s right: it’s internship season.
As a liberal arts major, it can be hard to avoid thinking of summer as a make-or-break career moment. Although graduation is still two years away, the English degree I’ll leave the College of William and Mary with guarantees pretty much nothing about my future. Now is the time to build a resume, make connections and get palpable real-world experience. In a competitive job market, every opportunity to get ahead must be seized; anything close to career complacency is in reality thirty steps back, as other potential hirees make massive strides to get ahead of you.
Why then, even after writing that extremely stressful paragraph, do I feel okay about currently walking into another summer without an internship?
Going into this semester, I had my schedule pretty much set. While the semester’s first two months would focus on acting with performances in two shows, its end would slow down considerably, giving myself some time to breathe before finals and a possibly tranquil summer.
Boy, was I wrong about that second half.
A supposedly relaxing spring break became hectic with a visit to my sister and a Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center trip to New York City. As soon as I got back, I threw myself into the world of student elections, spending blocks of free time on the stump. After those two weeks, a friend of mine found himself in dire need of a spotlight operator for his student directorial, chopping that week’s free time by 26 hours.
It was over a month after my supposed relaxation period was supposed to start, and I still hadn’t a “chill week” to my name.
Don’t get me misconstrued: the time sacrifices I made paid off in dividends, and I am extremely grateful to have had each experience. I am by no means telling people to say “no” to opportunities that seemingly take away from time to relax. I am, in fact, doing the exact opposite.
Sure, it currently seems like I won’t be business-casually humping it to New York City everyday come June. But that’s 50 hours per week back at my disposal. That’s about 750 hours back into my schedule. 750 free hours that, like the free hours I thought I would have at the College, can easily be worked back into my life productively.
Will I be working somewhere else a lot of that time? Definitely. Are there going to be less palpable opportunities than I could get at the College? Of course. But having less opportunities does not necessarily indicate fewer chances for growth.
To those in my shoes, now is the time to learn a new language, to take up that instrument you’ve always wanted to learn or to check out that part of the state you’ve yet to explore. Not having the chance to gain experience in the professional world of your choosing by no means implies that you can’t grow yourself in ways that are just as productive and fulfilling. Important skills and experiences are still there for the taking. All we have to do is find them, and if that fails, we can create them ourselves.
In a fast-paced, collegiate environment, opportunities to explore and grow as a person can seem few and far between. Now is not the time to stress about not having an internship; it’s the time to realize that the time to grow internally has finally arrived. Let’s not let that opportunity pass.
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