Monday, May 11, 2015

Up in the Air: The Best Phrase To Describe My Summer Plans

 Welcome to my office! (Aka my bedroom where I blog and search for a summer opportunity.) 

At the end of my sophomore year of college, it seemed like everyone had an internship or summer research... well, everyone except me. And its not like I wasn't trying to find an internship. I applied to two biology research programs, a scenic design internship, six graphic design internships, a fashion design internship, and a summer assistant job. I was rejected to everything aside from the summer assistant position. I was happy with the summer assistant position for about an hour. I'd be staying on campus, spending the summer with my friends doing research, and still make more money that I had to spend for on-campus housing and food. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I did not want the job. "Summer assistant" meant a full-time job of filing for the entire summer. I would have appreciated the money, but the thought of sitting alone at a desk and filling until the sun went down each day killed me inside. I need a job that allows me to be creative and interact with people.

After the summer assistant offer, I finally received interviews for some of the graphic design positions I had applied to and coveted. So, I decided to turn the summer assistant job down in pursuit of real-world experience.

The first job sounded pretty neat. The work dress code was business casual and I'd actually get to work on design projects with the team. 

The second job was absolutely perfect. It was a graphic design opportunity based at an Ohio coding company. After interviewing over Google Hangout with the co-founder and Graphic Designer, there was nothing I wanted more than to work for them. They asked the best interview question, "How weird are you on a scale from 1-10?" And they were offering a paid internship for someone to just help them create a plethora of content: posters, brochures, info graphics, and everything else. 

Unfortunately, taking the risk to interview instead of staying cozily with my summer assistant opportunity did not pay off. For the first company, I was pretty nervous over the phone and ended up getting denied a second-round interview. The second company in Ohio never even notified me that I'd been rejected, but after two weeks of no contact, I stopped hoping for a reply.

This all occurred between spring break and finals week (basically the most stressful stretch of my life). There were essays, exams (three between April 1 and 2), ballet rehearsals for Dancefest and the Spring Showcase, club meetings for MSA and OASIS, event posters and brochures to make at work, and a sprinkle of cheer practices. Days went by too fast and by the end of the week, I'd be too tired to go out with friends. Luckily, my lovely boyfriend would keep me company during the weekend nights I just wanted to be a hermit. 

Meanwhile, everyone asked, "So, what are your plans for this summer?" This time, it was asked by a well-spoken, boat-shoe and pink-short wearing boy from suburban Connecticut.
"I don't know yet," I laughed.
"How do you not know what you're doing yet?" he seemed genuinely confused. "I'm working as a medical assistant in a hospital."
"What does that mean?" I replied.
"I don't actually know..." he stated, perplexed. 

The school year ended and I was jobless and intershipless. I was tired in general and tired of rejection. The last thing I wanted to do was apply only to receive more words trying to let me down easy.  March 31st (email) "Thank you for applying... Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer you a position at this time..." March 16th "All the positions have been filled. Thank you for your interest." April 18th (voice mail) "Thank you for applying, but we decided to go with another intern..." May 5th (email) "All of the positions have been filled with candidates that more appropriately fill our current needs at the time. We encourage you to apply again in the future. Wishing you all the best with your search..." April 30th "I'll be in touch with you early next week regarding next steps." (No emails were sent two weeks later).  

I told my boyfriend I didn't want to apply to anything anymore. He replied, "That's too bad." 

"Why would you say that?" I spat. "Stop making me feel guilty for not wanting to be rejected AGAIN. I've faced enough rejections this summer." 

"I got rejected too. No one got summer internships. Everyone I know is doing independent research." 

It was then when I realized how spoon-fed I'd been my whole life. I'd been so used to getting on tracks, the "AP" track, "extracirriculars" tracks, and "A" tracks got me into college. Though I didn't know which college I'd get into, as long as I stayed "on track" I'd get in somewhere. Now, there isn't a track, and a few weeks ago, I was crying, anxiety-ridden, and on the verge on giving up because I'd gotten into my head that there was a "track" for getting an internship. Something along the lines of, if I get good grades, have a great portfolio, resume, and coverletter, and nail the interview, I'd be in. But its different when you job search. You could be the most qualified person, but someone had a better interview presence or had a network advantage. No matter how many jobs you apply for, you might not get any, even if you are qualified.

It's morbid, but it's reality. And another reality is that I'm too stubborn to give up fighting for my dream. I don't have an end goal and I don't have a path. I simply know that I want to keep exploring graphic design.

My boyfriend (the Econ major) always tells me that it comes down to "cost-benefit analysis." Basically, how does the cost (rejection) compare to the benefit (possible graphic design opportunity)? If the benefit of applying for internships and jobs outweighs the cost, I get positive utility (happiness) if not, I get negative utility.

Now, I'm at my desk searching for more things to apply to. I'm sailing my resume and semi-similar cover letters into the void of the internet. Hopefully something good will happen.

Stay tuned for updates of my summer journey.


5/11/15 Just received an email from one of the graphic design internships I recently applied to for an interview. It's a non-profit (unpaid) and 36 minutes away, but I would be able to help the company with branding and webdesign! *fingers crossed*

5/12/15 Just heard back from the internship in Ohio. Unfortunately, they could not follow through with the internship position because their company was short of funding. :( However, I did hear back from a second non-profit (also unpaid and 32 minutes away). Now, I have two Q&A sessions with start-up CEOs between today and tomorrow! Even though neither opportunity is paid and both require quite the commute, I am eager to speak more with each founder and hear more about their companies. Hopefully I get a graphic design position! Both promise hands-on experience, which is what I've been searching for.

No comments:

Post a Comment