A Fresh View: Internships for a First Year?

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

Hello all, and welcome back to A Fresh View!

I feel like that should be accompanied by a cheesy early 90s television jingle or something.  A Fresh View, now featuring Saved By The Bell era jazz hands~ giphy4

 

Anyways, today I’d like to talk a little about searching for and applying for internships as a first year. I don’t know if this is unique to Brown first years, or even my particular year in general, but it seems like all anyone is concerned with these days is landing an awesome internship or research opportunity or job over the summer. A lot of those opportunities have their applications due in February and March, so this time of year is usually rife with stress from keeping track of the potential future while also maintaining focus on the present. But just how important is it to get a great internship your first summer of college? Just how hard should you be looking for those opportunities? Does it matter how you spend your first summer?

These are all questions that have been circulating around in my head for the past couple of weeks, especially since it’s a matter of time sensitivity. There are tons of opportunities out there, and trying to parse through them is an arduous task in and of itself. Applying to them is another ball game entirely, and once you’re done applying, you have to go through an interviewing process before you wait with your fingers crossed that you got something. While you’re doing all of that, your classes don’t take a break at all and you have to keep up with your readings, assignments, papers, and exams. Your clubs and other activities will continue to demand your time and commitment, and if that wasn’t enough, if you’re like me, you’re also working a job for a couple hours during the week while also applying for different positions. So yeah, saying that there’s a lot on my plate at the moment would be quite an understatement.

So how should one go about dealing with all this without ending up like Michael Scott from the Office? giphy5

Well, first of all it’s important to remember that there is no possible way that you can always give 100% of your energy all the time. If you did that, you’d be a dry husk within a couple of weeks. You have to learn how to prioritize, and that can be really difficult because you should be loving everything that you’re doing. And if you don’t love it, you should probably consider not doing it anymore. I understand the pressure of being a part of lots of extracurricular activities, especially those that “look good” and pad your resume. As a freshmen who just went through the college application process a little over a year ago, the experience of my high school self involving myself in clubs just for the sake of being able to write about it on my applications as something I did is still fresh in my mind.

But in the end, if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, there really isn’t any point to doing it. I will be the first to acknowledge that you can’t go through life only doing things that you want to do – how great would life be if that were possible? Nobody wants to pay taxes, but you have to. And often, your future can feel like it’s adopting a similar pattern of necessity. You may not want to be involved in certain activities or taking certain classes, but you have to if you want to get a good job and have some semblance of security in today’s unstable and uncertain world. But I want to reiterate that doing things that you may not want to is not the same as making yourself miserable in everything. There are so many elements of your life that you do not have control over. Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to do what you love just for the sake of looking good for a particular internship or employer.

The fact of the matter is that your resume will look that much more appealing if its an honest representation of who you are and what you love to do. So if you don’t like being a part of a certain club, drop it. If you love spending your summers abroad and acquainting yourself with different cultures, do that. In a world so caught up in looking to what you can get from something in order to get ahead, I think it’s high time we afford more focus on appreciating what we have now and really enjoying the things in life that we can control.

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Stay happy and motivated, and I will see you all next week!

P.S. This has nothing to do with anything, but I thought it’d be fun to have a “what I’m listening to” sort of thing at the end of my posts… If everyone hates it, I’ll get rid of it, but this week my power song has been “Glitter and Gold” by Barns Courtney 🙂

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.

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