And by that time of year, I mean one where all I’ve been doing lately is applying for internships. Before I flew to Canada, I had two in-person interviews, and beyond that, I have probably applied to at least 15 different agencies and companies for a job this coming summer. My classes just start today, but I have already felt plenty of stress.
Not only am I stuck in a tricky spot, being in another country when most of the selection processes occur, but I am also a second-year undergrad but have enough credits to almost be a senior, something that can confuse most employers and peers. They see how my age and status don’t correlate and might choose an older student for the position.
I have applied thus far to both newspapers and advertising agencies. I have never gotten involved in advertising before as a journalism major, but it looks very exciting to me. Especially as another field in the media industry, I feel it’s become increasingly important to diversify myself with a wide range of skills. Although I am a journalism major, I still lean more toward opinion and editorial writing. It’s just my nature. I love having my own voice and talking about things I love. I care more about emotions than hard facts, interests that necessarily tie right into news writing. Heck, I’m writing a personal book this year because I know that is where my writing shines. That doesn’t mean I think either style is better than the other or that I should have experience in both, I just see it as another flaw, a lacking area of expertise employers might look for.
Last time this year, I already had an internship I started over the spring semester, so I didn’t have to worry much about applying elsewhere. But now it’s all new territory, and despite my past experiences, it doesn’t make the process much easier. I cannot tell you the anxiety I felt last week thinking of facing two different interview situations.
When people tell me “Oh, this should be a piece of cake for you, they’d be silly not to hire you,” it’s hard for me to believe. Anxiety has a funny thing of looking at everybody else, overlooking the fact that everybody is at a different place and situation, and compares that to myself. I see my flaws, areas where I’m lacking and don’t know how to do better. I devalue my own work when I know that others have done better before me.
And guess what, they have. I can’t deny that. There will always be somebody that is better than me, but nobody IS me. I care about a lot of different causes, from mental health to human & animal rights to sustainability, I am passionate and ambitious. I’ll work harder than most others have ever seen. I put in my 110% effort in everything I do and make. That’s just my nature. It’s my hope to portray that to others, that they’re willing to take a chance on me (insert ABBA song here).
To some degree, I feel more pressure to find job experience than actually earn a degree. As the price of education continues to rise, less people are seeing the purpose in that investment and instead choose to take classes online or not at all. Education is shifting and relying so heavily on technology, a different kind of educator is needed entirely, one that finish a class as quickly and easily as possible rather than teach students valuable information. While you can choose any path in life you need to (I’m not here to judge one bit), receiving a formal liberal arts education is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for a future career. Even with all of the unemployed people out there with degrees in hand, I still believe that wholeheartedly. The life skills and discipline you learn are worth it. But if we could somehow lower the price and make education a right for everybody, that would be great, too.
So I continue on my search-and-apply process. I will always have the fear in the back of my head that nobody will hire me and I’ll be stuck without an internship, but I have to think optimistically. It allows me to practice interview skills and just think more about what I want in the future. Did I need graduate school? Can I somehow work from home right out of the gate? Who the heck knows. I can’t predict that now.
Whether it’s a few months or years down the road, the future can seem scary. Whenever someone asks me what my future plans are, it’s hard to pinpoint what I exactly want because I know how unpredictable life can be. I’ve experienced that enough already. And I get too lost in the possibilities the future may bring, I forget about the present moment and how precious it is. Just a student, learning and growing.
This is a reminder for me and anybody else who needs it: You are doing just fine. Don’t worry or stress because it will all come together. It’s okay to receive a “no” or fail. You get up and await the next opportunity just around the corner. I believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind to, no matter how intimidating it seems.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie