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Dilemma: Internship or retail?

| Monday, September 26, 2022

Dear reader, welcome back to the chaos. Since the last time you’ve read a word written by me, the temperature has dropped to cardigan and corduroy weather. Not only that, but we’ve begun our approach to midterm season. It can be daunting to head into midterms every year, even though we somehow manage it every year. I’m feeling a bit confident in my midterms this year, but the surrounding context is troubling me, and I might want some advice.

I am currently working three jobs, two on campus and one off-campus. I have been offered an awesome opportunity in the community of South Bend to be able to help teach students art. This is big. If you don’t know me personally, I want to be a teacher and I am currently a Visual Arts major. You would think I would drop everything for this opportunity, no? You’re absolutely on the right track. See, if I had the money, I would devote all my time to it. But that is not the case. I am currently trying to figure out how to pay for school during the semester and still haven’t gotten great at it. It’s not easy. Even with the three jobs I have, saving more next semester is not easy. So here is my dilemma: do I leave one of my jobs to keep the internship? 

I am currently a super-senior/junior, a dynamic that I have not really come to fully understand and neither has most of the Arts department here at Holy Cross, but we’re riding the wave. As part of the Holy Cross College experience, every student is required to complete an internship. As a past education major, I wouldn’t have had a problem with this because my student teaching would have covered this requirement. But after switching majors, I am left to fulfill the requirement. And here lies the issue: I am ready to graduate. The last five years have been great, but I want to experience the real world. Mind you, I will miss the Bend and the way college has afforded me awesome memories, but home is calling my name. Graduate studies are also calling. The dynamic of also being a 22, almost 23-year-old in undergraduate studies is another conversation we can have. But with this internship, I would most likely quit my retail job. 

Retail has been a part of my life for the last four years. It is a part of my personality at this point. I love seeing people at every shift and love the things they are walking out with. I help kids get ready for back to school, or help wedding parties and even prom-posals come springtime. But the smiles and infectious energy can’t seem to keep me there either. I wish I could say that the environment from last summer, when I started at my current retail job, was the same. My favorite staff members have left and I am the only one left. My manager, the person that got me my job and kept me there, has found a new position doing the things she wanted to do. I can’t be mad at her, if anything I actually still talk to her and tell her everything about my life and congratulate her on her own path too. The discount will be missed but I know that there are other avenues to take. 

See, I know I should quit. And I think it would behoove me to do so, but what to do with all the time I have? Not to suffer too badly from main character syndrome, but what would I be if my hyper-fixation wasn’t working? In a very far-off way, this feels like a break-up with someone that you’ve fallen out of love with. I usually would default to a Taylor Swift song to help me get through this, but I can’t pinpoint one to figure this whole mess out. If I could find one close to what is going on right now it would be something off of Red (Taylor’s Version). We’re about the same age, going through a breakup and just feeling all the young adult feelings. I want to run and hide again and again because of this whole situation, but I know that by the end of this I will get 1989. I can’t wait for my pop rebrand, my squad era and an iconic fashion era of striped shirts and miniskirts. Here’s to the upcoming week; may we all get our essays in on time, our homework done without too much stress and a couple of iced-black-tea-add-espressowith-oatmilk-vanilla-and-apple-crisp-syrup this week from LaFun or AveBrew. 

So, what should I do?

Gabriel B. Ibarra is a Chicago native currently attending Holy Cross College majoring in Visual Arts — Studio Track — with a minor in Elementary Education. If not crying to any of Taylor Swift’s re-recordings, you can find them somewhere in the tri-campus causing chaos with laughs, pointed jokes and one of many emotional support water bottles in hand, or leading Holy Cross College’s First Generation Club as the vice-president. Learning to write for a newspaper is harder than expected, so they can be contacted on Twitter @gbenito11 or via email at [email protected]

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

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About Gabriel Ibarra