The Internship Dance

           The unthinkable has happened! I am grown up. True, I still have a long way to go, but as far as this societal culture is concerned, I am officially an adult. I love the fact that I can now go out to bars (blending in with the rest of the mature crowd), disregard my parents’ curfews, and make my own life choices (still working on getting that one just right). I guess the days of being told to look both ways before crossing the street are over, and at 21 years of age, I couldn’t be happier. I can’t exactly contradict Spiderman’s words of wisdom, however; with great power REALLY comes great responsibility. You start seeing the world with completely different eyes and all the sugar coating begins to dissolve. The days of the Cha Cha Slide are over, and the Internship Dance begins.

            For the past two summers I worked at Therapeutic Recreation Services, a summer camp program for children with disabilities in different elementary schools around the area. It was probably one of the most rewarding jobs I ever had (not hard to do considering I used to work at fancy stores like Abercrombie and Aeropostale), and a wonderful learning experience in more ways than one. Although a great job with competitive pay, it was not what I hoped to do with the rest of my life. As I started my junior year in college, I became familiar with the “field experience” concept; it entailed having at least one, preferably two though, internships that pertained to your field of study before entering the real world ( dum dum dum). Once that stress settled in, my mom chimed in with daily reminders about the importance of an early search. It was around last December when I really began to take my first learning steps:

  1. Search the web for infinitive hours.
  2. Mold your Resume to the target position.
  3. Edit your cover letter to tailor your specific skills to the job.
  4. Send away!

Although 4 steps seemed simple enough, this dance was fast paced, with a difficult partner and completely unpredictable. I must have applied to at least 12 places by March, with one phone interview response ( that lead nowhere) and a call back that never answered MY call back. I guess the early bird doesn’t always get the worm, because as I sit here today, I am still waking up every day to look at the new postings on The Washington Post, Indeed.com, and Craigslist.

Things aren’t really looking up, but in the midst of all my stressing, I realized something. No matter what, we are all going to find our niche; the place where we truly belong and where our skills (which aren’t necessarily the ones we learn in school) are put to good use. Whether I get a call back one of these days, or not, I have to have faith that even without that so-called “field experience”, I will be able to succeed in the real world.

So, if you’re dancing away this summer in your perfect internships, I want to congratulate you! I learned the hard way, that they don’t just say ‘it’s a tough economy out there’, it’s actually true. If, however, you are on my boat, and are still hopeful on getting that call or have resorted to your old summer jobs, then I think we should all enjoy that opportunity. We only have a few of these summers left and we are going to have plenty of time to wake up at the crack of dawn, work full days, and start feeling like old.ER people when we are going to bed at 10pm.

I guess I will still be doing the Cha Cha slide for one more summer!

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