The real world is waiting


Story by Emily Albrent, Chief Copy Editor

It’s going to be a hell of a lot easier for you to figure out what you want to do with your life if you start thinking about it now, rather than waiting until you graduate. Now is the time to figure out what you want your future to look like. My advice? Start with looking up internship opportunities that make sense for your major, or your interests.

This past summer, I had the most amazing experience of my life. I applied for a beauty internship in New York City at a small online start-up company called StyleCaster. I never thought I would get the internship, and I remember the day I found out I got accepted.

I was in The Spectator office one bright Tuesday afternoon when I received an email saying that I was hired, and that I should start making plans to move to New York. I was extremely excited and ready to start my adventure.

My first day was crazy and overwhelming. I had no idea how to use the subway, and the city was excruciating in every way possible. New York is not what you see in movies, shows, or pictures. It is a gross, filthy, over-exposed city, and I loved every second of it.

Without this internship, I would never have realized some very crucial things. I have always thought that I wanted to go into beauty or fashion when I graduated, but now I know that my interests in this area were heavily clouded by high profile magazines such as Vogue and Glamour.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast writing and researching stories for the company, and they even published my articles, but I’m not sure if I really want to go into that industry when I graduate. Sure, I would like to be the next Ryan Seacrest, having a jolly old time with celebs and whatnot, or interview some high profile TV executive, but really, how often does a job like that
come along?

I would never have known that the industry was not for me if I didn’t take this internship. I learned that I would rather focus on doing something more, like traveling and writing about my adventures. I don’t want to just write about beauty products, I want to set out and discover the world. And yes, I know that this sounds arbitrary, cliché and totally unattainable, but let
me dream.

That’s life, though. You say you want something, you sometimes get it, and then you realize that you never really wanted it in the first place. It’s a “grass is always greener” thing, but you have to do it. You have to figure this out one step at a time.
That is why I practically demand that every one of you get out there and intern somewhere. Figure out what is best for you. Figure out what direction you want to go in life. Don’t just sit there doing your readings and studying for tests because that will only get you so far.

No one is going to care about how long you were in the library on Saturday night or about the awesome research paper you wrote freshman year. College gets you the degree, but anything you do outside of that is what makes you who you are. It is what
makes you valuable.

I’m not saying do what I did: save up since 2nd grade, pack up two suitcases and travel 1,000 miles to a drastically different city. It doesn’t matter if you intern across the country, or in your own backyard. Find what is right for you, take the chance and just do it.

With an internship you may find reassurance in your goals, or you may find disappointment. The internship may point you in the right direction, or it will make you feel more lost than ever.  It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you got out there and tried. You will be in a far better place after experiencing something other than school than you were before.

Talk with your professors, look online, talk to other people around you. I promise you that with a little time, patience and dedication, you will find an internship that will help lead you in the right direction.