My Last Summer Before Starting "Real Life"

Even as I was applying for the gaggle of internships I wouldn’t get, my mind was thinking unemployment. How nice it would be, I thought, to get rejected from everywhere and end up at home with nothing on my agenda but to wake, eat, sleep and occasionally, swim. The force of a burgeoning responsibility to “make something of myself” however, pushed this thought away and like a job-searching robot, I sent variations of my resume through more than four dozen abysmal internet portals that opened, potentially, to paid and unpaid opportunities alike. Some were to companies that you might have heard of: Pixar, Dreamworks, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Microsoft, Palm and Facebook. Other resumes went to smaller companies which I feared were actually clusters of college students squatting in their one-bedroom apartments without furniture and florescent lights, living off the fumes of fantasy. More than once I read in a job description: “We are a start-up on the verge of being the next Google!” Followed by a unapologetic: “This position is unpaid but could lead to a full-time position.” What – a full-time unpaid position?

Surprisingly, the Big Companies extended the most interview offers, and I came quite close to becoming the Excel slave of a portly investment banker, but as I’m writing this on June 1st at home in Villa Park, it’s apparent that summer has begun along with all the internships I applied for. In its own way, my situation appears to have played out again in my heart’s favor. I did, after all, want to be at home.

Logical me spent most of last semester thinking, “I need to get an internship or my life will be O-V-E-R.” At school, many of my (young, oh so young) classmates seemed to have secured some sort of full-time position or were planning on going to grad school. Those who hadn’t weren’t worried because well, they were still babies. They might have started turning the wheels of worry, but it was of folks back home that caused the most distress. I imagined horrific scenarios of unemployment: myself getting fat as my parents grimaced and muttered under their breaths about where they had gone wrong. I imagined my friends moving on to bigger and better things in other states, other cities: law school, pharmacy school, doctorates in the arts; they would scoop up accolades and advanced degrees and earn higher salaries while my highest achievement remained a perfect SAT II writing score and an impeccably organized sock drawer.

I felt I was doing myself a favor by entering the “rat race.” At school, it didn’t seem like a rate race but the inevitable and necessary road of the human race. It was lonely at the bottom, where I fed off my parents, who had established themselves successfully and sturdily enough so that no matter how often I gnawed at their branches, their extending deep down into their unconditional love, would hold fast.

“Don’t worry about us,” my parents tell me, “just figure out what you want to do.”

As when dealing with any problem, I begin by facing the facts. And they are as follows: an internship I am without. What I do have is an entire summer and a semester to “figure it out,” along with the hard-earned knowledge that “it” doesn’t have to mean “my entire life,” but just my next step. I have options – we all do.

So here’s to a long, delicious summer at home: from the beginning, the very thing I wanted.

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One thought on “My Last Summer Before Starting "Real Life"

  1. the days i loved the most were always the ones when i got caught up doing something else in lieu of “figuring it out.” they don't seem to exist on the other side of figuring it out, and for that, i miss the days when clarity and purpose were things i was still searching for.

    enjoy the summer, and after, the fall.

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