I really did not see this coming. This semester was just too busy and too fun for me to sit down and make plans for the future. With the endless readings, volunteer hours, rehearsals, meetings, packing, papers, general cramming, end-of-year BYOs and tearful (and drunken) goodbyes that comes with junior year, I forgot that people actually do things over the summer. As a result, it is May 30th, and I am still applying for internships that begin on June 1st.
At this point, I am clearly and desperately trying to deny the undeniable: no internship for me.
At a school like Penn, where people voluntarily go through OCR (which honestly sounds like hell) is in order to find internships and eventual jobs, not having an internship for the summer is rare, curious and Undesirable #1. Even as someone who wants to spend the rest of my life performing to feed, clothe and house myself, I find myself panicking at not having an internship to put on my non-existent resume for the back-up career I really don’t want to pursue.
Watching all of my friends and seemingly all of my peers spend their summer interning for well-known companies and organizations, I can’t help but compare myself to them and feel so unproductive. I haven’t not had something to do since I was in junior high, and honestly, I feel a little useless. My parents are not particularly helpful in the matter either, constantly saying things like: “Well, I’ve heard that the internship after your junior year is the most important,” or, “If you’re not doing anything, you might as well make yourself useful around the house.” They mean well, but they’re not particularly good at the “reassuring parent” spiel.
However, it’s always important to put things into perspective. And not only is it important to put things into perspective, but it’s important to make the best out of a less than ideal situation. Although it would be nice to have an internship and we, as pre-professional Penn students, value internships, our self worth as students and people should not be so dependent on them. Having an internship free break is not the worst thing that could happen, and for me, it’s slowly working out for the better. Actually, it’s shaping up to be a good summer.
Unpacking is a pain, and living with my parents while friends are figuring out leases and sublets in major cities just adds to that feeling of being useless, but it’s good to be home, possibly for the last time in my life, after living away from home for so long. I spent last summer working, rehearsing and performing in shows in Philadelphia, so I haven’t been home for over two years. Additionally, because my dad is in the US Army and had to travel constantly for a while, our family hasn’t been a complete unit for over four years. I love my family, and I didn’t realize how long I hadn’t lived with them or how much I missed them before I came back home. And really, my parents do mean well. They’ve helped me find other ways to occupy my time by asking (ordering) me to help out at home. So far, they have managed to convince and rope me into helping with general chores around the house, tutoring my brother, assisting in designing a product, filing a patent and even helping them with an idea for a startup (which is arguably, rather interesting and potentially listable on a resume).
In terms of performing, during one of my frenzied internship search sessions, I panic-committed to co-creating and performing a solo play for Philly’s Solow Fest, the annual DIY solo performance festival for performance artists this month, and that is more than enough to keep me busy. I will be spending the rest of the summer working on the pet projects that I had started during the school year, but never got to finish (such as perfecting a Scottish accent that I’ll never have to use, ever), and auditioning for smaller projects here and there. I also recently decided to apply to and audition for graduate schools and training programs for acting this year, so I will be preparing for that crazy and harrowing ordeal as well. Just because I don’t have an internship doesn’t mean that this time is less valuable. I’m still preparing for my future —no cubicle required.