When I was in middle school, folks from the local Christian college came into my English class to convince us not to have sex until we were married. We were all assigned parts in the sordid saga of John and Mary, whose sexual histories came back to haunt them in their nuptial bed as they discovered that, like most sexually active youth, they were STD-ridden. I think I was gonorrhea. I left the class with a pencil that read “I’m Worth Waiting For.” Thank you, Jesus.
I wish Career Services would adapt this admittedly ineffective approach when it comes to every Penn student’s dream — the summer internship. I may not be waiting until marriage (can only do that in six states right now, guys), but I did manage to wait three years until I sold my summer and broke the bank by moving to a new city for an unpaid job. It’s not that I’ve regretted any portion of this summer, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend the past two summers whining about my non-intern status, but based on my experience, I think some internship abstinence education could help a Quaker out at Penn.
While I was writing cover letters in the library, my ears bled from listening to freshmen working just as hard, if not harder, on their own. They were applying to Google; I was Googling pictures of bears riding horses (look it up!). Unlike these ambitious freshmen, I spent the winter of my freshman year trying to climb the walls of my hallway and wondering what Qdoba was. Half of my summer was set in the sun-soaked Spanish Mediterranean and the other half in the dark basement of a college bookstore back home. Sophomore summer left me at Penn, where I studied global protests and Shakespeare while learning about myself at the LGBT Center. And now I’m in D.C., which is pretty cool now that I can appreciate being a working person (and because I can wear jeans at work). It was a progression, and I’m glad I didn’t throw myself into the melee right away.
So hey, youngins, if you’re up for it, here’s a challenge: don’t rush it. You’re going to get an internship eventually, and then you’re going to graduate and get a job, and then you’ll have a daily routine and a morning bagel place and every day at three you’ll whine about how the days are really long and where did your summer go and when is happy hour? You don’t want that yet. You’re worth the wait. Have a pencil!