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Career advice from your favorite unemployed student

The truth is, getting an internship is a delicate dance

Students around the country are struggling to find summer job and internship plans due to pandemic.
Students around the country are struggling to find summer job and internship plans due to pandemic.

Internship season! That time of the year when you find yourself hating your best friends because they have a job before you and googling which billionaire’s relative goes to the University to see if you can befriend them for the employment long-con. Gates, Bezos, Buffett, Musk — I mean, there’s got to be at least one Kennedy around here somewhere. 

While your STEM major roommates are sitting pretty with cushy remote internships they’re probably going to be doing from the Caymans, you just switched the filter on Handshake from “paid-only” to “all.” Inbox cluttered with LinkedIn notifications, you choke back tears as you type “congrats!” on the 50th Comm kid’s JP Morgan announcement. Contemplating trying a sans-serif font on your resume to seem hip for the 16th time this week, you wonder if clown colleges are still open during the pandemic. This is totally not about me … I’m writing for YOU here.

So what do we do here, my lost souls? Do we give up? No! We fight for the internships we barely want but really need! We’re gonna watch “The Devil Wears Prada” on loop for inspiration. Comm kids, I heard “The Wolf of Wall Street” plays 24/7 on all the screens in Rouss-Robertson. We send thousands of cold-emails. We get in touch with every uncle’s-college friend’s-sister’s-boss! We work those connections like our lives depend on it. And for some of us, it truly feels like they do.

The truth is, getting an internship is a delicate dance. Similar to dating, you have to make sure you look good, avoid seeming over-eager and try not to cry when they don’t call you back. And if all else fails, you know you always have that ex you can return to. You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all had that fling that we seem to go back to, even though we know it’s not going anywhere. You make a pact with yourself if you don’t have a job by June, you’ll call Ms. Barnes and return to the income safe haven of babysitting Katherine and Malcolm, committing to another summer of beaded bracelets and listening to “Baby Shark.”

But unlike your typical dating routine, you will have to master the art of taking rejection with grace. If you’re anything like me, you might let that email sit in your mailbox like a cargo ship in the Suez Canal, hoping it will just wash away on its own. The preview is enough to know — “We have reviewed your application and we are sorry….” Other responses include immediately deleting the email, moving the employer to spam or sending a gracious “thank you for your time” note back if you’re really feeling professional. But, I beg of you, don’t go caps-locking your way into a tirade of obscenities you’re going to regret. Take the loss, accept it and move on. Virginia Basketball fell out of March Madness and then went back to win the championship the following year — both you and Tony Bennett are in a rebuilding season, but you’ve got your eyes on the prize. Sure, Tony’s making over half a million for his time, but he’s still got that broke-college-kid spirit somewhere in there!

As the least athletic person I know, I oddly find sports analogies to be the most helpful. Tiger Woods didn’t win the Masters overnight — he started training when he was two! By that math, if your parents started pressuring you about finding a good job at age 12, you’re on track to have the career of your dreams by 31! Upon further consideration, Tiger is also known for his extramarital affairs and receiving the Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump, so maybe he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. Maybe just watch “Rocky” or something. 

I hope this helped ease your anxieties a bit, and if not, there’s always babysitting! In the words of basketball great Troy Bolton — “We’re all in this together.” Don’t let the job hunt get you down. After all, these are supposed to be the best four years of our lives

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