5 Things My Summer Job Taught Me

5 Things My Summer Job Taught Me

Plot twist: internships don't make up for life experience.
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Let me take you back to my very first real world job ever. Catch me in my white polo (buttoned up all the way) under a bright green apron with salsa spots behind the register at a taco chain restaurant in California. I spent my nights after school closing by pouring vats of salsa back into storage in the back freezer, often spilling mostly spicy and hardly any mild all over myself. Yum.

Not gonna lie, working in the food industry was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I ever had. I never really want to go back to a salsa-in-my-shoes type of career, but I feel like it’s important to recognize the valuable things a person gets from working a summer job.

This past summer, I swapped out my white polo for a blue one in a completely different industry. I worked at an aquatic facility as an office admin, despite the fact that I’m a theatre major. Let’s be real, I’m a poor college student and I needed to make money to #followmydreams.

While this job wasn’t exactly a straight shot towards Broadway, I still managed to learn a lot about myself. Too many people my age are concerned with resume builders and less about what makes them up as a person.

Here are five things I learned working this summer:

1. You can’t please everyone.

For some ungodly reason, there is always an incredibly difficult customer that thinks you are single handily responsible for her unhappiness. She is having a terrible day and you get to be the lucky employee she’ll take it out on. People have bad days, but remember, just because it’s a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life.

2. Empathy.

Putting yourself in other people’s shoes is vital to any job that deals with customer service. I can not tell you enough about how cautious I was of customer’s feelings towards different policies or changes made.

3. Go with the flow.

Change is difficult. Especially when you’re the one enforcing new rules and policies. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, say okay, and go with it. It’s all you can do sometimes.

4. Be kind.

I can write at least six different articles on this. Being kind is something the world is seriously lacking, but I can tell you for sure that the people I worked with this summer showed kindness the best way possible. Just be kind.

5. Be open to new opportunities.

I think a lot of people shut themselves off because things may seem impossible or just so unlikely that they decide the answer is always “no” before they’ve even asked. Debate with your boss about feminism and the idea of marriage. Have Pokemon Go Tuesday night dinners with your coworkers. Just go for it.

Maybe I didn’t do something that I’m necessarily striving towards, but I don’t think I cheated myself of anything. I gained experience and empathy and kindness— isn’t that what adulthood is about?

Cover Image Credit: Made Brave

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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5 Reasons It's Always Worth It To Be A Summer Camp Counselor

Summer camps have a special place in my heart, and I'm here to share that with you.

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Since I was 15, I have been a counselor at various summer camps. I have been a Program Aide at Girl Scout camp, a counselor at church camp, and a counselor at a day camp. These were all camps that I attended as a kid, so they already had a special place in my heart when I got a chance to work at them.

After being a camp counselor for five years, there are things that I have learned on the job that has helped me in life. Being a counselor has also helped me grow as a person. It's helped me gain skills that I don't think I would have learned in other jobs. I'm here to share what I love about the job of being a camp counselor.

1. You get to be the leader/role model

As a kid, there were many counselors in my life that I looked up to. They were people that I strived to be alike in my life, but now that I'm older, I get to be that person for the kid. What I say and do will influence how the kids around me act. That comes with a lot of stress, but it's also empowering. You can be a positive influence in a kids life, and hopefully, teach them important life lessons.

2. You can be your goofy self

One thing that I love about working with kids is that I can be silly around them. Kids won't judge you for being silly because they're silly right alongside you. They feed off your energy, and it can help them explore the world around them through communication. Plus, when was it not fun to be silly?

3. You get to hang out with kids all day

This reason might turn people off from the job, but it's a part of why I love being a counselor. Hanging out with kids tires me out at times, but they also motivate me to keep going. They're little balls of energy, and I feed off of other people's energies well. The kids also help me feel youthful and like nothing matters. Everything is fun to them; they help me keep a positive outlook on life.

4. Your coworkers become your best friends

Working at a summer camp can be difficult at times. It's emotionally and physically draining as well. But having a good support team helps with that. The counselors that I have worked with in the past have become my best friends, and I still stay in touch with some. They're there for you when no one else is, and they understand what you're going through. You know that their feelings for you are genuine, and they want to help as much as they can.

5. You get to watch the kids grow

Over the summer, I get to see the same kids every week at my camp. I get to see them grow as people over the summer and it's a rewarding experience knowing that I was able to help them. Watching them become leaders and grow into little helpers by the end of the summer is one of my favorite things.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at a summer camp again this year. I know that it'll provide an opportunity to grow as a person and I can't wait to see my favorite kids again.

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