As the sunny season approaches many students translate the word “summer’ directly into “intern season.” The narrative surrounding the months of June to August is usually accompanied by questions like “Where are you interning?” and “Who are you working for?” The stress of feeling like you should have answers to these questions can be overwhelming. But the social and professional pressure to be part of this dialogue is – in my opinion – slightly ridiculous and highly unrealistic. Here are some logistical facts about being an intern:
- Interning is expensive. On top of having to pay for housing fees, appropriate work attire, transportation, and food, interns typically work for a very small stipend or no money at all (or in some cases they have to work for school credit which can actually cost them additional academic fees). And these are just a few of major financial costs associated with being an intern.
- Interning is time consuming. Whether you are a part-time or full-time intern, the tasks you are likely doing at this entry level, correlated to the amount of time you spend doing them, often don’t match up on at a quality to quantity comparison.
- Interning is stressful (for the worst reasons). While I won’t deny altogether that professional growth is, in fact, an important and positive part of personal development, I will stand firm in saying that interning can often lead to copious amounts of unnecessary stress. Because so many people hold their internships up high like a shiny prize they have won, the atmosphere can be tense, uncomfortable, and entirely career-oriented. Rather than viewing internships as ways to learn new and interesting things about a specialty you might be interested in perusing, this dog-eat-dog environment tends to put more emphasis on whether or not a full time position will be offered at the end of it all.
Carpe wants to tell you “No internship? No problem.” In fact, you might be in a better position than your peers, and here’s why:
- You aren’t bound to a formal time schedule. Without a permanent 7 am wake up time you are free to create a time structure that works best for your own personality and productivity. If you prefer to stay up late working on a personal project versus getting up before the sun rises, you have that option too.
- You have flexibility when it comes to traveling. Summer is a wonderful time to travel and with a more flexible schedule you can plan a trip during off-peak seasons. That means you save money and can plan to visit friends or family at a time when they can actually host you.
- You have time to explore a personal passion or interest. If you aren’t interning or working you should definitely be doing something productive on the personal side. Whether that includes writing, drawing, surfing, knitting, learning a new language; it’s up to you – the sky is the limit. This is the only time when all of your other responsibilities aren’t piled on your plate, so optimize every minute!
- You get to take time for yourself. Sometimes the most important aspect of not having a formal internship is that you get to take time to be alone with yourself. You get to focus entirely on how are you doing mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is difficult to assess how the last year went if you move onto the next step too quickly. Taking time to really check-in an think about what makes sense going forward can really help bring you to the next phase of your life in a thoughtful and internally motived rather than hasty and pressured way.
Whatever you choose to do, do it to its fullest potential. You have the ability to make every day count, so whether you’re interning for your state representative or spending the summer in Cascade, Idaho backpacking and kayaking, invest fully and know that you’re doing just fine. In fact, you’re doing great.
What are you doing this summer? Let us know @CarpeJuvenis!
Image courtesy of Unsplash.