You look around you. You look on Facebook. You look on LinkedIn. You look on Instagram. People in your life are getting married, having kids, getting their dream job, going to college, moving to a new state, taking a year off, debating on taking a risk. We are all at different points within our own individual lives. Crossing different lines individually and at our own paces. Yet we feel overwhelmed to stay up and maintain the same pace as our peers around us and this may not be the best or most viable option for each of us. But we feel that pressure to be on par, better, or moving at a faster pace than everyone around us.

Being surrounded by fellow students and friends getting exclusive internships in amazing cities like New York and Los Angeles, I felt defeated this year not obtaining an internship. Because I felt getting an internship was a stepping stone to success. For some it is, making connections in your dream company, making internship friends in a new city or just feeling on par with peers who will one day be your competition.

But I realized that the only reason I was trying to get an internship was just to feel at the same level as my peers and friends in internships. I also wanted to get an internship for the connections and experiences, but my heart was not set completely on working a 9-5 my last summer before I really need an internship after junior year. I wanted to enjoy my last summer of freedom working my odd jobs which I feel I gain and learn new skills from and can apply them to the real world because I am working in the real world. An internship is not necessary for me to acquire skills that make me a better candidate for a job, because I have my own jobs that I enjoy and work at that give me the same soft skills as an internship, if not more. In my mind, I felt not on par, but I am doing my best and I am on par with my own goals.

Look around you again. Wherever you want to look. Your life, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, wherever you feel that you are not up to par with your fellow peers and friends. Take a moment to realize that everyone is on their own path and everyone's path looks different. You are on par and on your way to achieving your goals at your own pace and someone's idea of "on par" may be different to your own predicaments and how you get to the same place. And that is okay.