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.