Race to work again today;
From nine to five
I only strive to stay awake.
But the child inside me
Dares to believe I still can fly…
Got to catch the next train,
I’m making my way…
Tyrone Wells, “Dream Like New York”
Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if I were still in college. Most of the time I think that I wouldn’t mind delving back into academia again, conversing with professors or debating amongst peers or researching criticism as I formulate my own ideas for an essay. Truly, I loved college as an undergraduate. It offered me my first taste of real independence, gave me my first glimpse of in-depth analysis, and taught me to stand by my opinions while contemplating others’ viewpoints. I love to learn and I love to read and school always came natural to me…for the most part, anyway.
I don’t yearn for my college years because life since then has brought me just as much excitement and opportunity, and I’m thrilled, if not slightly discouraged, for what I’m finding professionally.
However, if there was one reason why I wished I were back in school, it would be this: “interns wanted.” I see this pairing of words everywhere now, and it seems as if most of the entry-level position advertisements in my particular field are being aimed at students. And since I’m no longer in school, that shoe no longer fits.
Were I to pursue a master’s degree again, I’m sure I would settle back into that mold, finding it once more the perfect fit. But where I’m settled now, for the time being, anyway, is in the professional realm. I don’t necessarily regret where I’ve been these past three years, because I know that I’ve come so far. Still, though, I lament a little never having the opportunity for an internship, and not being eligible for one now, because next to that great job posting is yet another line: “academic credit only.”
From a professional standpoint, seeing it from the viewpoint of a company, I get it. I really, honestly get it. Internships are mutually beneficial for both companies and students in that those companies are able to “hire” workers for little, if any, pay, and students get connections and hands-on experience in their major-related industry. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.
However, looking at it from the standpoint of someone seeking a full-time job, trying to break into a career, it’s more than a little tough, and it makes you more than a little wistful that you were never able to pursue one of these opportunities yourself, for what it could have meant for your career in the long run.
Maybe I’ll still get there. It won’t be as easy, but maybe that’s the lesson I’ve been learning all along: determination, ambition, and passion can go a long way.
I’m wearing a different pair of shoes now; I know that I have a different path to walk down, one that I’ve just found, one that I’ve only just begun to forge for myself as I continue to gain experience through this minor detour, build upon a passion, and pursue my own opportunities.
Little by little, step by step, I’m making my own way.