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Internship search process emotionally trying

Column by Stephanie Kocer

Stephanie Kocer Columnist-w800-h800It’s April, which means everyone is in that painful no man’s land of waiting to hear if you got that summer internship.

I haven’t found a summer internship yet, so I’m in the stage of complete freak out.

I’ve applied for several, some I’ve heard back from, others I haven’t. I’ve interviewed for one, and yet here I sit waiting with no idea what I will be doing come May.

The emotional stages of trying to frantically find an internship are kind of like the emotional stages of a relationship.

In the beginning, you’re excited because you are about to get into a new experience. A month or so after you’ve sent your cleverly crafted cover letter and perfected resume to various places of employment you start to wonder, “Where is this going?” Will they ever call you for an interview? Are they ignoring you because you aren’t good enough? Should you call them? How many times can you leave a message with their secretary before you start to become “that annoying girl?”

You start to frantically check your email every half hour. You start to worry that you won’t find a summer internship at all.

Then they call. At their convenience, of course. They want to set up an interview. Great! You’ve got this. You put together a portfolio full of your excellent skills and work samples. You pick out the perfect outfit that says you’re both sophisticated and ready to work but also trendy.

You look up directions to their office that’s located on the busiest street downtown in a huge business building. On the day of your interview, you leave your apartment an hour early to make sure you find the damn place. When you find it without any trouble, you sit in your car and wait for 45 minutes until your interview is actually supposed to start.

Once you’re inside their offices, you will check in with their secretary. They will tell you to have a seat, so you awkwardly wait in their waiting room for another 15 minutes.

Once the actual interview starts, they will look over your portfolio. Excuse me, they will judge your portfolio. Sometimes they’ll ask you the classic questions like, “Describe yourself in three words,” or, “Tell us about yourself.” Those are the worst.

Sometimes they will ask you problem-solving questions or how you like working in a group questions. These are, of course, traps, and they are also the worst.

And then the interview is over in 20 minutes. They show you out the door and you walk back to your car.

You start to wonder if you told them everything you should have. Did you answer all of the questions right? Did you brag about yourself enough? Did you get the point across that you really want the job?

Days after the interview you’re still waiting to find out if you got the job or not. Do you call them? Send them a thank you note?

You start to worry that you didn’t get the job because you messed something up in the interview. Or maybe it was your resume? Maybe you don’t have enough experience. Maybe someone else’s resume was full of more BS than yours.

But how am I supposed to get experience if no one gives me a chance? I would think that by now Drake University has given me the skills to be able to intern anywhere.

So, here I sit in no man’s land. No internship locked down for the summer. I sound calm, but I’m not.

I’m starting to think of alternatives. Maybe I’ll just work in retail and make money. My parents would appreciate that. Maybe I’ll finally start writing that novel I always say I’m going to. Maybe this will be the summer I finally follow my dreams of being a stand-up comedian. My parents would hate that.

There’s no real advice at the end of this column. I have no idea how to tell someone how to land that perfect summer internship. I’ve gotten the internship before and other times I haven’t. I know what joy feels like, and I also know too well what rejection feels like.

Maybe we just put too much pressure on trying to find internships.

I’ll leave you to ponder that. Partially because I have nothing left to say, and partially because I’m going to go check my email again to see if I have anything from anyone offering me a job.

Kocer is a junior magazines, sociology and English triple major and can be reached at stephanie.kocer@drake.edu



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