People Face Trade-offs

My senior year of high school I took AP Macro Economics.My teacher tried his best to hold the attention of a class of kids who were already accepted into college and mostly couldn’t be bothered to come to class. He knew that us becoming econ experts from his class was a long shot but there is one point he drilled into our heads- people face trade-offs. If there was one thing he wanted us to learn that year and take with us after we left our home towns it was that people are constantly choosing and deciding. If you understand that its a whole lot easier to understand why people act the way they do.

Fast forward four years and now I’m a senior once again but this time I don’t know what the next chapter of my life will be. If you were to look at my resume you’ll notice one glaring thing. Somehow, someone who has known she wanted to go into PR and has had drilled into her head the past four years the importance of internships has a resume that mysteriously lacks that big summer internship junior year. I have all the right clubs and classes, even an internship during the school year.When I look back at my resume and see that one large gap I can’t help but to hear my high school econ teacher saying “people face trade-offs”.

Second semester Junior year I should have been networking, applying to positions online, taking professionals out to coffee. Everything and anything I could do to land an internship that would get me the kind of experience hiring managers look for and maybe even a full time offer for after graduation, but I made a choice. I decided to spend that semester abroad. I’ve always had the desire to travel and been incredibly passionate about Italian culture. Since I’m an Italian minor and my grandparents are from Italy, when I realized I had the space in my schedule to spend a semester abroad I leapt at it. I knew from the beginning finding an internship for the following summer would be hard but I decided this opportunity to live in Italy for four months was worth it.

When I tell people I spent a semester abroad there are usually two responses: 1) I wish I did that when I was in school,but I never had the time OR 2) I wish I could do that but there is no way I can make it work and still graduate on time. These people made choices, they chose something else over studying abroad whether it was graduating in four years, an internship, or something else that was important to them they decided not to study abroad. I’m certainly not saying they picked wrong- everyone has different priorities and values and we all pick what’s best for us and our situation. People face trade-offs. Studying abroad wasn’t easy, I made a lot of sacrifices to do it and in the end I’m glad I did. It was definitely the right choice for me.

When I hear people talk about their summer internships or how they already have a job lined up for after graduation and I start to stress out, I have to remind myself of the decision I made and why I made it. Of how living in a foreign country, immersed in the culture of my heritage, living with a host family and learning a foreign language was worth not interning this summer. Even if I have to work as an intern after graduation I’m okay with the choice I made. In college we all make decisions, some people major in things they are passionate about even if they don’t know how to make it into a career, some people commute because to them not being in debt up to their eye balls after graduation is worth it, some devote all their free time to that one organization that they can’t get enough of. We all make choices. We all have that point where “it’s worth it”. People face trade-offs.


Making the Most of Your Summer Break

The months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are brimming with possibilities and opportunities. You have over three months to do with as you please. As college students, we have a couple options; internships, summer classes, travel/study abroad, or summer job.

Ideally, I would be traveling around the globe this summer; perhaps hiking in Australia or wandering around Morocco. Seeing as I just got back from a semester in Italy that was financially out of the question. I should be interning somewhere to make the real person job search I must commence next May that much easier but that one didn’t pan out in my favor either. So now, I’m back in my hometown, working the summer job I have had for the past four years.

If I’m being honest that doesn’t bum me out as much as it probably should. Working an easy summer job means you have the time and energy for summer shenanigans and maybe even a transformation.

Replenish that bank account: Every internship I applied for would make me less than my gig lifeguarding. And, many internships college students accept are unpaid. Studying abroad and summer classes drain your funds instead of building them. After two semesters of late night pizza, alcohol, and the necessary retail therapy that finals always requires, that bank account could use a little love.

Get back on that health grind: I, like most college students, have a tendency to let my health fall to the wayside at school. When I’m stressed all I want is chocolate. And how can I be expected to get up and run when I’m too hungover to even get out of bed? Sober me knows how bad greasy pizza is for me and my skin but drunk me wants all of it and she wants it now. Summer at home is a great time to focus on working out and eating healthy without the temptation that you find on a college campus. I even made one of my friends become my cyber workout partner because if we use snapchat to guilt each other into working out there might actually be results. 

Reconnect with old friends: After freshman year of college, you’re still talking to most of your friends from high school and meeting up for weekly bonfires in the summer. By the end of sophomore year you’ve narrowed it down to only a few really good friends from high school. By the time you’re done with junior year, there are tons of people from your past that you haven’t talked to or seen in years. Take your relationship from a “like” on their new profile picture to brunch where you catch up on all the amazing things you’ve been up to since you graduated.

Pursue your passions: The wonderful thing about summer jobs that differs from school or internships is that when you leave for the day, you’re done. You don’t spend the night thinking about work or having to take work home with you. Once you leave, you are free. Take this extra, stress-free time to do the things you always want to do but never have the time for- crafting, writing, learning to play guitar, reading whatever it is #justdoit

Make strides in the professional world: Also with this stress-free time, take a few beats to work toward your professional goals. Contact and shadow someone with a job that you would love to have one day. Polish your resume so it’s ready for whatever pops up, whenever it pops up. Create a portfolio that shows off all the amazing work you’ve done so far and how  capable you are.

Have all the shennanigans: As a rising senior this very well may be my final summer break and I vow to take that very seriously. Create a bucketlist of all the things you want to do this summer. Have fun with your friends and family in the sun. Go on a day trip, road trip, beach trip, any kind of trip- just go. Summer break was invented to unwind from the stessful year you just had so kick back and relax this summer.

My summer bucketlist