This has been my summer in between; the summer where I’m somewhere in between a “kid summer” and the “real world.” After endless applications to summer internships, I just wasn’t lucky enough to enter the corporate world yet. I returned to the restaurant I worked at last summer and worked the same job with the same people. But, I also continued to work on a research project with a BC professor. My weekend ended up being Tuesday and Wednesday, so I did meetings and research on those days. So while I wasn’t working full time like some of my friends with internships, I still felt like I was always working.
But in some ways, it was still really hard to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t receive an internship offer this summer. Every time I looked on LinkedIn, I felt like someone new was posting about their internship, and I was continuing to receive rejections. I would always compare myself to these other students, which contributes to the toxicity of LinkedIn. Even though most of the time these students are in entirely different majors, so I can’t even compare myself to a separate field. Not only that, but I don’t know if everyone receives offers on their own merit, or if strings are being pulled and parental connections are in the mix. This, I think, can present a sort of false narrative. I shouldn’t compare myself to others in finance and accounting, I’d never apply to the same, or even similar, companies with my international studies major. It was frustrating; I so badly wanted to have an internship related to my major this summer. I put so much time and effort into applications, I think I submitted over 60 applications and only got 2 interviews, then just nothing.
While it was a frustrating process, I probably got to enjoy my time more than I would have with a full-time office job. I still got to go to the beach and read before my dinner shifts started. I’m not the most accomplished reader, but I’ve read 10 books so far this summer and have come to love reading (BookTok was very influential for me). Because of this, I feel more productive in my free time. I will always love a Netflix binge here and there, but reading takes the cake for now. I got to spend more time with my cousin who visited from Atlanta, and I spent another semester working on Professor Krause’s research team. By taking on a new research task I enjoyed, I found a new interest in my studies. And in my restaurant job, I grew closer to my co-workers and felt the importance of working with people of different backgrounds and of different ages. With a customer-facing job, I’ve definitely learned how to work with difficult people. So, it wasn’t a summer wasted as I had felt in May, after receiving all those rejections.
I definitely do not hope others have unsuccessful job searches, but if anyone has a similar experience, I hope you don’t feel alone in that. BC is a high-intensity environment, it can be difficult to cope with if you feel like you aren’t doing as much as people around you. But working a summer job doesn’t make you unsuccessful, and your time to receive the offer you’d been hoping for will come, mine will too. BC is full of hardworking, dedicated students and I know that we will all be successful in our own ways, and success looks different for everyone. Not every major fits into the “Big Four” corporate box, some lend themselves better to small non-profit organizations or charities, while others may work well with local companies to shadow doctors or lawyers, and most (if not all) have the potential to do research with university professors. My summer wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but after looking back at it, I would say it was a successful summer in between. There are always going to be in-between phases, and this summer was one of those times for me.