“This will look great on my CV,” I think, as I apply for yet another event, another job, another activity that will give further gravity to my repertoire of esteemed accomplishments. This time, I stop and consider this accumulation of achievements. Will we forever be striving to lengthen our lists? Is this just another line under the last one in hopes to surpass the ruthless competition in the current war for employment? With summer on the horizon, I pose this question as many of us battle it out to win a prized internship. I ask, “are we striving to establish a career before we’ve lived out the full student experience? Are we attempting to launch ourselves into the market before we are finished the educational step?”
Arguably, we have spent the last seven summers living it up as we waited for the next secondary school year. However, I counter this statement with the sense of freedom that came with college, with those previous summers not replicating the newly established agency that age awarded us. Granted with independence, the summers that separate our college years cannot be equated to those that came before. Should we be using these summers, which unfortunately will be the last three-month chances for unhindered adventure? Apart for those pursuing the holiday-punctuated careers of secondary school teaching, few of us will be afforded such a stretch of time to fill with anything we please.
Doubtlessly, many of us have jobs to keep the financial crisis away, a battle almost every student must fight throughout college. However, these are not the grinding internships of which I speak. I speak of the internships that laden students with the same responsibility as a full-time employee.
For those who aspire to begin their career during college, you absolutely have my full support. I cannot say that I haven’t strived to do just that. However, I’d like to offer an alternative perspective; one that does not constantly strive. With such a fast-paced world, there is a certain pressure placed on young people to constantly stretch, and often strain themselves to incessantly climb that ladder. Aware that our classmates have applied here and there and everywhere, we’re terrified that we are falling behind, but what if we wait one more year? What if we lived the college life before we leap into the working world?
These are not questions I have the answer to. I simply want to spark a train of thought, one that doesn’t add another line to my CV, but might add another stamp in my passport; one that doesn’t involve an internship, but maybe yoga, or baking or a wild nightlife. Instead of swinging one way or the other, I’d like students to think they can spend their summer in whatever way they want. Whether it’s typing up financial reports, modelling pottery with grandma, scanning bananas in Tesco or learning how to cook, take full advantage of your summer in the way that feels best of you. Remember that you have next year, and the year after that, and the year after that to kickstart your budding career.