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My Summer Without an Internship

Like most college students, I woke to a blaring alarm at 7:30 this morning. It may be summer but we all have responsibilities at this age. While most of my peers are getting up to go to a job or an internship, I’m waking up to work on me. I had an opportunity handed to me for a great internship and everyone thought I was a fool when I turned it down, but I had to take a step back and decide what was best for me.

Elon students, like many college students, have high standards for themselves. This is almost always a good thing and is certainly the reason so many of us do well in life. It’s also the reason so many of us are stressed, anxious, and exhausted. My first week at Elon, an upperclassmen described the mindset like this, “We party hard because we work hard.” From that moment forward, it was my mindset too.

After three semesters on Dean’s list, a winter term in Italy, a whirlwind through sorority recruitment and a fourth semester swamped with work, I applied for a semester abroad in Dublin for Fall 2012. As I approached the end of my sophomore year, the question of a summer internship was beating down on me. The thought of continuing the stress all summer while preparing to go abroad was almost too much. Finally, I decided to take the time off and work on centering myself again. After all, this is the last summer I get to ignore adulthood and just play.

So, for each look of disapproval I get when people find out I’m not working or interning this summer, I have a hundred moments of stress-free “me-time.” I’ve read more books than I could have named before, written a couple chapters of what may end up being my first book, and spent time with my family that I wouldn’t have traded for anything. I spend my afternoons painting and drawing on my back porch and walk on the beach in the evenings. This wasn’t a summer of watching TV and shopping, it was a summer of personal growth and reflection.

Being driven doesn’t have to mean being stressed. We are young, beautiful and creative people and we all deserve a little room to breathe. Whatever it is that inspires you, make the time to do it now. We have all the time in the world to prove our worth to others, now is the time to prove it to yourself.

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