By: Alina Nesterenko
A few months before summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a participant of a two year leadership program, including mentorship and help with securing two summers of internships. But I fell victim to the belief that because I had been accepted to this successful program, and I had access to more resources, I would be able to secure something this summer.
We are advised to do things the “right” way. But the most meaningful pieces of information we obtain and apply, in my opinion, are those which we learn on our own. After getting to the first workshop in the beginning of June, I was disheartened to find out that the internship-recruitment period that the program offered started in fall not the summer. And I had absolutely no plans for the upcoming summer. Nearly panicked, I felt like the one person among my circle of friends that had no ready response to, “So what are your summer plans?”
I started worrying that the gap of time on my resume would scream that I failed to progress this summer. I referenced search engines and checked my resources, but the application period for most firms was already long closed. The pressure to obtain an internship was so stressful I began giving up opportunities to hang out with my friends after exhausting my Internet browsing powers.
You may wonder – how does this story end? It was thanks to my wonderful mentor, a director of another leadership program I participated in a few years ago, that I was able to secure an internship at a world-renowned real estate firm…last minute. Real estate while not my intended career path gave me exposure, experience, and insight in another potential option. It felt great to have experience under my belt.
I was relieved and grateful but the feeling of guilt did not die down. I still felt dependent on someone else and was forced to reassess my management skills with my professional future. Ultimately, in order to succeed academically, professionally, and even personally, it is crucial to keep track of your future yourself, instead of hoping and even depending on someone else to.
I am an advocate for reaching out to others to ask for help, inquiring about questions, and updating those in your network on your struggles and successes. However, this is to be taken with a grain of salt.We should all be thankful for those who are dedicated to watching us grow and helping us succeed. It is also important to have multiple circuits of support and to make sure those relationships keep flourishing.
However, my underlying lesson learned in this scenario was a reminder to rely on myself. It certainly may be an advantage to be in the right place at the right time, but that does not guarantee anything unless you make sure it counts. Your future is your own responsibility.