Every summer since I started college I've held a part-time internship. As a marketing major, I've been dreaming of the internship of my dreams the summer after my junior year (AKA right now). If you asked me in February what my plans were this year I would've said that I was on my way to the perfect internship.
At the time I was 3 interviews deep for the ideal, paid, full-time brand strategy internship in NYC, and had applications out for a few others with interviews pending. After what felt like 30 interviews I got the emails no one expects or want to get: "After careful consideration we've decided to go with another candidate. Thank you for your time."
I started scrambling and freaking out. This was THE summer for internships! I was convinced that if I didn't have an internship I was a failure.
I decided to apply for an unpaid PR internship in Boston for a company that I had always followed on social media. I always preached to people never to take an unpaid position becuase their work is valuable, but I convinced myself that the experience would be great and even though PR wasn't something I wanted to do, I could use that knowledge in brand development.. somehow. The internship was descriped in my first interview as being upwards of 45 hours a week, and sometimes requiring travel without being given a stipend. They sad I could take the internship for college credit, but that would cost me an additional $4,000.00 minimum to convert the credits.
I started calculating the costs of the internship: $300 a month for travel into the city, plus food while I'm there, travel expense for any PR events, and because it was a 45 hour a week min I wouldn't be able to hold a job outside of it. I emailed the recruiter after my first interview asking if they would consider reduced hours before I came in for a second interview, I was given the answer that I'd have to committ before they'd consider it.
Ultimately I decided that it wasn't worth it. I could take the time I was dedicating to this company and dedicate it to my blog, while working. So I applied to a few retail jobs and started creating a content calendar for June. As much as having an internship experience during THIS summer is seen as necessary, I know that I would rather be getting expereince in retil and working on my blog and learning about branding through my own expereinces than dedicating 50+ hours a week to a PR internship that was not relevant to anything other than time management.
I'm excited getting my blog back to where it belongs, making some money, and taking the summer for me. As amazing as it would have been to have that perfect paid internship in NYC, I'm completely happy with the decisions I've made and know that not having an internship this summer is not the end of the world.
Something people don't talk about enough is what to do when the perfect scenario doesn't happen. What do you do when everything you planned doesn't work out? Should you take any internship just to say you have one? This summer I'm choosing to spend the summer doing something I love, and taking time to learn skills I'll need (take e-courses in adobe software I haven't used yet, video editing software, etc.) and spend my last summer before adulthood enjoying myself. Opportunities to take time for self discovery do not come very often, so if you ever find yourself in a position where the perfect scenario isn't working out, look at it for an opportunity to discover yourself.
How are you spending your summer? Have you ever wondered what you would do if you didn't get the perfect internship?