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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nanyang Tech chapter.

It feels like we’ve just celebrated the New Year a week ago, and all of a sudden the semester is coming to an end. And that means the long-awaited summer holiday is coming. But for university students, it really isn’t “a 104 days of summer vacation” that Phineas and Ferb would have liked you to believe in. 

The rat race doesn’t really hit pause in summer. Most of us hope to land ourselves in internships or early career programs during the holiday so that we can be in a good position for a full-time job when we graduate. Just like every typical Singaporean who values productivity, I can’t stand the fact of doing nothing for 3 whole months! Anxiety started to creep up on me as I thought of how my peers would be head and shoulders above me. 

And so, I started to search for an internship to build up my portfolio. The torment that is job-hunting has really gotten to me over the past three months. Depositing my resume everywhere, going for interviews, waiting to hear back from HR… Especially when the economy is not doing well and lay-offs are abundant, it seems almost impossible to end my misery as I go through this torturous cycle. 

As a graduating student, I’m forced to think about my future seriously as I search for an internship. What would I like my first job to be? What do I want to achieve in life? How much am I willing to dedicate myself to work? The need to think so far into the future bugged me; I just wanted to enjoy my last few years as a carefree student. 

Ideally, I would spend my summers travelling without a care in the world. Beyond just finances and other practical things, psychologically, I have been so consumed with the rat race that even if I did have these resources, I would still sincerely believe that I don’t have the luxury of time to do so. 

After a few breakdowns and a lot of self-introspection, I’ve realised that I’m letting the stress rob me of the present. Tons of inspirational TikTok videos have convinced me that things happen for a reason, as corny as this sounds. I thought back on my life and realised that things do work out in the end, even if the process is trying. As I faced rejection letters from companies, I told myself to trust the process and that better things are coming. 

More importantly, one internship that lasts for 3 months is not going to dictate my entire life trajectory. The reason why I felt so burnt out is because I believed that this is going to affect my future career path, and that I could not afford one wrong step. But in today’s ever-changing world, who could say that plans would definitely work out the way we want it to? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that everything in our lives can change in a moment. 

Time is in our own hands now. We don’t have to follow the conventional path of graduating within 4 years, and then getting a job immediately afterwards. Comparing yourself to others will do you no good. While we’re young, we should take advantage of how we have the luxury of time to explore anything under the sun, and figure things out as we go. 

What truly matters is how we make the most out of what we have, and never give up on ourselves. And remember to take care of yourself – you’re already doing well enough! 

Zhi Yi Ong

Nanyang Tech '24

Loves to sleep so much that she spends more time being asleep than awake. When she is actually awake, she enjoys watching films and writing about culture.