Opinion

Summer: Vacation vs. Internship

Summer Vacation InternshipWith temperatures just creeping over 60 degrees this past week, it is safe to say that summer is approaching. I know, I know, that silly groundhog thinks otherwise and we haven’t even begun midterms yet, however, this semester is flying by and it will be coming to a close before we know it.

With the conclusion of another school year comes the freedom and sunshine of the summer months, as well as looming responsibilities. Take a minute to think about how many conversations you’ve overheard on campus regarding internships. Personally, I have heard at least four, and know that that number is only going to grow as the next few months continue to whiz by.

While I am excited that my fellow classmates are eager to prepare for their futures, I cannot help but wonder, at what point are we trading our happiness and three-month hiatus from school for the monotonous routines we will likely fall into once we make it to the “real world” and sell our souls for the 9-5 lifestyle.

I feel like there are two types of college students: those who cannot wait to jump into their careers and those who are comfortable with the ease and flexibility these four years offer. I definitely identify more so with the latter. Not to say I am not motivated and excited for what my future holds, that is not at all the case, but at 21-years-old, the uncertainty of the future is both thrilling and equally terrifying.

For me, summer has always marked the beginning of a new chapter, one with countless hours spent at the beach, endless nights with my friends and one too many sunburns. Like so many others, I live for the summer: and how could you not?

If you are like me and live in a beach town, you’ve experienced firsthand what a 360 our towns go through as soon as Memorial Day Weekend rolls around, all the way up to the end of Labor Day. How on earth am I supposed to trade my days spent staring off into the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean, for days staring at a computer screen hours on end?

I get it, I must sound like a needy millennial who has no desire to pay my dues in the corporate world but hear me out! There is more to life than climbing the corporate ladder, landing that corner office with a view and being a slave to the six-figure paycheck.

Two months ago I applied for a summer job in the middle-of-nowhere Montana on a whim. I never expected to hear anything back, as these types of places receive applications from people all over the world who too are eager for a seasonal job that not only pays the bills, but allows for countless adventures.

I knew that I wanted to spend my summer out West, checking off one National Park after the other, but told myself that idea was foolish and that I should apply to jobs that align with my major and will act as a nice little embellishment to my resume down the road. So, I kept Montana in the waaaay back of my mind and applied for a “real world” job.

By some crazy stroke of luck, I was offered a full-time position for the summer at a public relations (PR) firm with an office in N.J. and several others scattered across the country. This job would be an amazing stepping stone and could lead to many opportunities that could advance my career and expand my network; it’s a no-brainer.

Just as I was ready to accept the offer at the PR firm and silently resign myself to the 9-5 lifestyle, my phone buzzed and my Gmail notification popped up telling me I had a new email. And whom was this email from? Yup, you guessed it, the hiring manager in Montana; I got the job.

As someone who will do anything to avoid making a decision, you can clearly see that I’m in a bit of a pickle. Do I choose the position in which I’ll be stuck in an office all day but that has the potential for major career growth? Or do I trade writing press releases and meeting with clients for waiting tables and hiking through National Parks in Montana?

I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes as you read this thinking how about how foolish I am for considering taking a service job over a corporate one, but maybe that’s the problem with our society, we place such a high value on fortunes and prestige that we forget to take a step back and realize that there’s more to life than a paycheck; just some food for thought.

Well, that’s it folks. I applaud the few of you who stuck around this long to listen to me hem and haw over what to do. If this article helped enlighten just one person then my job here is done. On a final note, I think I’ve finally made up my mind. Montana, here I come.

PHOTO TAKEN by Caroline Mattise