When looking for an internship, remember to enjoy yourself

Commentary by Lenzie Purcell
Times-News correspondent

   Internships are encouraged from the day college students step foot on campus. Sure, experience is valuable, but how important are internships?
I felt the pressure of finding the perfect internship the summer between my junior and senior year. I attended internship fairs held at my school and searched Internet data bases.
These events provided the choice of thousands of employers offering work to willing and able students, usually unpaid. I watched as my biology-major friends fought about the best laboratories in which intern, while my friends majoring in political science debated whose law office was more respectable.
   As an English and communications double major, I felt it natural to search for journalism internships, public relations jobs, even advertising offices. Nothing I found appealed to me. It wasn’t long before I began to panic. After much meditation, I decided I needed to figure out first what I would want to do if there were no expectations.
Immediately, I thought of traveling, so I started from there. I typed in internships in a variety of places I wanted to spend my summer.
Once I had decided upon a place, I chose a type. I had chosen Hawaii and I definitely did not want to spend my summer cooped up in an office with a wall between myself and paradise. Eventually, I chose a permaculture internship on the Big Island of Hawaii where I would learn to plant the Earth using natural and organic techniques.
Upon telling my friends and family, I was asked the same question again and again: “But how does that relate to your major?”
Truth is, it doesn’t. When I graduate, I want to work for a company that is excited to learn that I tried something out of my comfort zone at a place where I learned valuable skills and experienced the most incredible occurrences.
You’re only young once and I don’t think it’s necessary to spend the last bits of complete freedom doing something you plan to do the rest of your life. The reality that comes after college will come soon enough. Summer is summer no matter how old you are.

Lenzie Purcell is a rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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