Anxious About Jobs and Internships? So Is Everyone

 

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In most fields, getting an internship isn’t something optional. Some degree programs are useless without internships. Sitting there avoiding the subject seems like a lack of maturity, but I still find myself with the most bare-bones LinkedIn profile I can get away with and numerous half-filled internship applications that I abandon last minute. 

This feeling takes me back to high school. While the honors kids chatted about which Ivy Leagues and flagships they got into, I found myself wondering if I’m ever getting into a college. 

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And I’m not the only one. The feeling at the bottom of your stomach when someone mentions an internship doesn’t reflect your capability or your performance. People talk about it casually as if it’s some carefree thing but truth be told, uncertainty about your future is not a carefree thing. Especially as college students looking for opportunities during or shortly after a pandemic, I think it’s pretty normal to be nervous. The culture surrounding job hunts can also be really toxic. It’s always about who got the best internship at a large company and how cutthroat competitive your field is. And while it’s great to seek out job opportunities and experiences, that’s not what our education is all about. What we learn in our classes strengthens and deepens our knowledge of the world. It’s not always about who’s going to have the best salary straight out of college. Why can’t we just use the knowledge we’ve worked hard to obtain and contribute to the advancement of society? 

I personally didn’t come into college thinking, “Wow, I hope I become a tech billionaire and spend it on extravagant things.” Don’t get me wrong, being a software engineer comes with a good salary, and I absolutely put that into consideration when I started off coding. I just wanted to have fun and see where technology can take us. I didn’t want to be in an echo chamber of self-absorbed wannabe geniuses talking about how easily they got an internship at a Big Five company. And when jobs and internships become the main talking point, it becomes just that - a race to the highest salary.

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Obviously, apply for jobs and internships. You’re probably in college for a certain career path. But don’t let the attitude around it all cripple you - you’ll get there eventually. Go at your own pace. 

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