The Problem With Internships

The Problem With Internships

Please remind of how what I am doing day-to-day is not technically "real life" experience.
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“You’ll never know if you don’t try.”

This principle is perfectly applicable to finding out whether or not you like raw seafood or can pull off red lipstick. In contrast, I think it is an ideology that has been pinned to the likes of career pursuit, and specifically for college students, navigating their soon-to-be-figured worlds of study, to the likes of internships, and wrongfully so.

In this final stretch of my sophomore year, I’ve spent countless hours begrudgingly and haphazardly sending my resume out to almost every publishing house and magazine editorial office I could find, checking my email neurotically in hopes of a single response. I got one: a rejection notice from Penguin Random House. Otherwise, responses have either not been made, or they’ve been questions about how I would feel accepting an opportunity to work 16-24 hours a week, unpaid, for 16 weeks. While I would love to surrender my barista position in the name of intern work, it’s not something that seems quite plausible. I could, hypothetically, work 3 days a week as a barista, and 2-3 days a week as an intern, never take a vacation, never sleep, perhaps never eat, and then return to school in the fall, wondering how in the hell I could balance working 6 days a week and going to school 2 days a week— making for a total of eight days in a week? It’s not scientifically possible.

The expectation of students to be able to give up their summers, which they worked tirelessly to reach, in the name of unpaid job experience, is atrocious. I may not be the next Mark Twain, but I am an objectively hard worker (as my resume highlights), and taking advantage of such a facet by trying to lure me into working three 8 hour days without so much as a minimum wage paycheck makes me not want to involve myself in the people in my own field. I think of the work I could potentially be doing: punching numbers into a system, filing paperwork, exercising my coffee-order memory skills, and I wonder how any of that at all is representative of my skill set.

I understand there’s this sort of 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying' mindset that all college students are expected to take on as they enter their field (especially a more liberal arts-centric one), but for many and most, what ends up happening is that they take this job, they’re fine at it (because how can you be anything more than fine at filing names into a computer?), and they perform similar work for the rest of their life, never once given the opportunity to showcase what they worked so hard at in college. Even the most interactive of internships can be less-than-fruitful if you don’t get paid to do them, and that leaves so many kids who work other jobs unable to make time in their schedule to work for no pay.

Circumstantially, not everyone is capable of taking on a position to gain experience alone. It’s really hard to work and go to school full-time. For most, it’s impossible, which is why so many kids don’t have jobs when they go away to school. And that’s good for those kids, and hopefully they fill that time they could be flipping patties or brewing coffee doing good for their academics, joining clubs and working on-campus activities. For those that do work, there should be a different standard of on-campus participation. I make time for school, for theater, for writing, and for work, but also I sleep four hours a night and power through on several cups of coffee.

Penguin Random House, please remind me why you didn’t want to give me a chance? Was it because I’m not in the democratic socialist club, or is it because I don’t have a polished portfolio and a 4.0? Should I have generated a third arm somewhere in my own evolution to be able to balance all of the work that I have to do in order to be good enough for your establishment? Or was there just no positions open, all filled with little hoity-toities from private schools upstate who get to sublet a $1500-a-month room in SoHo for the summer, still finding time in their schedule to make it out to the Hamptons a few times before returning to classes? Will they get the internship? And then after college, the job?

I don’t mean to paint myself out to be a charity case: I have loving and supportive parents, and I am certain that if I whined and begged, I would be able to find a way to make an unpaid internship work and wallow in the misery of refilling printer toner for 8 weeks. But I know, and I think my parents know, that I am better than to subject myself to that sort of misery. I would rather work hard as an independent because ultimately I’m entering a field that is so rooted in the independence of effort and work ethic, and then see the fruits of those labors. I would rather slave over getting my own computer to work, sharing stories and workshopping and getting my own, perhaps not an adult world, but real-time hands-on practice with people, than be an office monkey for my whole summer and receive zero retribution.

Experience is subjective, and what I can’t understand about internships is how they function as the only gateway to a field already so narrowed by demand. All circumstances are different, and whether you’re writing pieces to be unpublished at an office in Midtown, or you’re at home putting passion into your own private works that you self-publish, you’re nevertheless gaining experience in time management and proving your own capabilities. Either way, there’s no payment, and either way, you come out having achieved something. But, in only one way have you done it from the comfort of your home computer, cocooned in blankets, still in your pajamas. In that respect, internships can kiss my behind.

Cover Image Credit: rawpixel / Pixabay

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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