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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

WRITER'S BLOCK: Saying goodbye to summer camp

Published: April 1, 2005
Section: Opinions

I think that I can now say with authority that weve finally rounded the bend and begun that annual slide into spring. My sweaters are long gone. Boots are out, flip flops are in. It wont be long before were staring out the window during our classes, longing to be out in the sun getting some color into our pale, winterized skin, playing basketball or going for a walk. I dont know about you, but Ive made a conscious effort to bank my unexcused absences for this time of year, when an extra hour or two in the afternoon will be greatly enjoyed.

Sure, the spring is a great time of year. Were already looking ahead to finals and classes for the fall semester. The summer is lurking not too far away. Wait. The summer? The notion of more than three months off from school doesnt seem to be invoking in me the same type of elation that it did when I was in high school, or even last year, for that matter. As we get older, the idea of summer begins to warp into a totally new entity.

Summer used to be reserved for camp and trips to the beach. As we got a little older, we became CITs, then counselors. The more adventurous of us worked at Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, The Gap. These types of employment were acceptable through the summer after freshman year of college. But something very mysterious sets in after sophomore year. It is a strange phenomenon. There isnt any sort of mass e-mail sent out. There is no announcement, no phone call from the powers that be, informing all 19-20 year olds that they need to get our acts in gear, pronto. But you can feel it. Somehow you just know that scooping ice cream isnt going to cut it anymore. Its almost as if were expected to get real jobs, gain some sort of work experience in our intended field of study. Its like were supposed to become…adults. Hmmm, an interesting prospect.

So I, like all of my sophomore counterparts, am being thrown head first into this jacket and tie world of resumes and interviews. I spent time perfecting my credentials, finding the ideal balance of both ostentation and discretion. I typed up cover letters and even figured out how to get the computer to print the addresses on the envelopes. I called to confirm that they received my application for a summer internship. I was eager and prepared. Would I need to buy some sort of dress suit for my interviews? Should I research these publications and organizations? Go prepared with a mental list of my three best qualities? My favorite books of all time? I readied myself to blow the industry away, make it impossible for them to refuse me.

So far, the general consensus that Ive gotten from my friends is that the process is somewhat frustrating. While we have motivated ourselves to find work, internships are scarce and many employers arent as eager as we are to make summer plans. Many places take their sweet time in replying to our applications, if they even reply at all. When I call in response to an e-mail inviting me for an interview, they kindly tell me that they have delayed their intern selection until April. Could I please call back in a month or so? Sure, Im not in any rush. Its only my future thats at stake! Well, maybe Im getting a little ahead of myself…

Weve all readied ourselves to enter the adult world of 9-5 jobs. Weve submitted ourselves to the bleak probability of non-paid internships. Were willing to trade paychecks for resume-boosting experience. We all have opportunities on the horizon. Some may come to fruition, others wont. That magazine that Im dying to work for may never call me back;

maybe Ill hear from them tomorrow. Like so many of us, the fate of my summer is up in the air. But at the very least Ive begun the process and taken my first baby steps out into the so-called real world. Im pretty sure I havent been there yet, but I think this time, this just might be it.