Opinion | Will work for experience

Maura Kate Mitchelson, opinions editor

Two of my friends have summer internships in San Francisco. One will be working in New York City. One will be in Austin. Two more were hired in Denver.

Me? I’m still waiting to hear back from most places I applied and the companies who did respond didn’t hire me.

During a family brunch over spring break this year, my grandma asked what my plans for the summer were. I got a little sweaty and told nearly my entire family that I didn’t have any yet. When my cousin was asked the same question, she said she got an internship, which my her father went on to describe as (maybe not in these exact words) a fantastic stepping stone on the way to a profitable career and fulfilling life. I got more sweaty.

It seems like everyone around me will be spending their summers gaining valuable work experience to prepare them for their future careers, while I’m thinking about working retail. I’m not opposed to the potential discounts on cute clothes I might receive, but I wish I could be spending that time building my resume instead.

I know that any experience is good experience to have under your belt, but I was really hoping to be in an office building instead of behind a check-out counter this summer. Honestly, I don’t know what I want to do after college, but the pressure to become a more desirable future employee, no matter the career, is getting to me.

Initially, I naively only applied to one summer internship. I had toured the company in spring 2018 and became totally fixated on it. The people were welcoming, the office was beautiful and the company atmosphere seemed like a good fit for me. I was set on working there. I had even already decided on my first-day-of-work outfit.

From the interviewer’s tone of voice and the fact that she said things like “How are you today?” and “It was so nice to talk to you, Maura Kate,” I definitely assumed I’d be hired, but unfortunately I wasn’t. Evidently, she was just being polite and I just have no clue how interviews work.

After sadly stalking the company’s LinkedIn, I discovered that the interns they’d selected are graduating college this year or will be going into their senior year. While that made me feel a little better about not getting the internship, it also made me worried about the possibility of me being hired elsewhere.

Some of my older friends have reassured me by saying that the summer going into junior year is a difficult time to find an internship and that they also struggled when they were in my position. But at the same time, some of the friends who are my age are being hired at amazing companies – and I’m not. I’m happy for them, but it’s hard not to compare myself.

Now, I’m scrambling to apply to any and all internships I think might be a good fit, beefing up my LinkedIn and waiting for the summer store clerk applications at Urban Outfitters to open up.

Maybe this just isn’t my year to be the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed intern and eventually, I’ll accept that. Right now, the wound is a little fresh, but with time, it’ll heal. And that clothing discount sounds better and better the more I think about it.