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Entering intern season (already)

| Wednesday, September 28, 2016

During my freshman year, I rarely concerned myself with “the future.” It was never anything more than an abstract concept, too far off for me to truly feel any worry about. Whenever the thought came up, I simply assured myself of how much time I would have later to think it through and prepare. Career Center emails went directly into the trash bin — I’d have three more years for that. Ignorance was bliss. Honestly, I don’t particularly regret my lack of career preparation freshman year. I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do, and it’s difficult to prepare for a question mark.

What I was not prepared for was the looming onslaught.

Sophomore year, it turns out, is far less detached from the future. Every morning I am greeted by a barrage of emails, each reminding me of an internship I haven’t applied to yet or some workshop that is apparently vital for obtaining any kind of job. The Career Fair was overwhelming in its sheer size alone. The internship application process has brought back unwelcome memories of college applications. At least with those, a response was guaranteed; internship applications feel like they’re being sent into the void, and hearing back feels hopeless. Yes, these internship applications are much simpler, requiring not much more than a resume and a cover letter, instead of dozens of supplementary questions. But when reduced to a resume, there’s pressure for every action to revolve around strengthening said resume. If an activity doesn’t contribute to the resume or further your skills in something relevant to your major, then it seems disposable. A dangerous thought comes to mind: All activities that don’t make the resume should be discarded, or at least discounted.

This unhealthy attitude, which I myself have struggled with recently, is easy to fall into. Nevertheless, at the cost of your non-career related passions, you cannot accept this mindset. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in extracurricular activities that relate to your major; after all, you should love what you do for your major, and should want more of it. Preparing for a career is important, and we all have to somewhat play along if we want employment. However, it’s imperative that this does not come at the expense of other passions. College should be a formative experience on your terms, not those of employers.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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