I didn’t get that internship.
Like a good journalist, though, I was determined to make this a learning experience and emailed the magazine editor back asking how I could strengthen my resume for future job opportunities. He didn’t email me back right away, but I later bumped into him on my way into the building where both the magazine and one of my other jobs are located.
“I was just about to respond to your email!” he said. “But since you’re here, I just wanted to let you know that there wasn’t a problem with your resume or interview. Everything looked really great. We just ended up having to go with someone who was able to start working immediately.”
Rewind a bit.
I work at my school’s Writing Center, and our schedule of appointments for the first few weeks of each semester is, for the most part, wide open, since it takes a little while before teachers start assigning papers. Last semester, I was lucky if I spent two hours a week out of the ten I was there doing consultations any time before midterms.
If I were the careless type, I could have quit that job at the drop of a hat. It would have been rude, but there are enough other consultants and it’s early enough that nobody would have really been stranded. But that job and the people there have been good to me, so I told the editor who interviewed me that I’d only be able to work a few hours per week at first if I was hired in order to give the Writing Center two weeks’ notice. Truthfully, adding a few extra hours of anything to my schedule would have been some kind of madness, but I could have managed it for just two weeks. If they had really needed it, I probably could have managed to cut my hours to a minimum at the Writing Center so I could give more to the internship without too much difficulty, or I could have even survived working 8-10 hours at both jobs, just for those two weeks, if someone at the magazine had told me that my level of time commitment for two weeks was the make-it-or-break-it.
But my respectfulness and responsibility towards the my Writing Center job cost me the internship.
I needed that internship badly. I’ve had two other internship possibilities for the summer fall through for reasons beyond my control — more reasons unrelated to my experience or my application. Unfortunately, my viable and worthwhile internship options are extremely scarce back home in Colorado Springs, and I can’t afford to live anywhere else over the summer. With only nine and a half months between me and graduation, I’m running short on time to secure the remaining internship credit I need (my journalism program requires internships in order to graduate, and I needed one more after the internship I had last summer).
This particular internship would have been perfect because
- It was a magazine internship, which is what I want to ultimately go into.
- It was a paid magazine internship, which is an extremely rare find (I’ve looked into dozens of magazine internships, and none of them pay, whereas paid newspaper internships are much more bountiful)
- Because it was paid, I could easily handle it during the semester because it would become my job, rather than adding on to my already barely-manageable workload
- It was on campus, which meant I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of finding rides or borrowing cars, since I don’t have wheels of my own.
My boss at one of my jobs stumbled across this internship and called my attention to it only a few days after I found out about my best summer prospect coming up dry. That timing and how idealistic it was made me think that God had opened up a door that I so desperately needed.
Apparently I was wrong, and in addition to being wrong, I’m also frustrated, confused, disappointed, stressed out, a little desperate, and a lot disheartened.
A good journalist is tenacious and resourceful. There’s part of me that is sure I’ll figure something else out, but that part, which used to be dominant, is quickly shrinking in the face of so many dead ends and rejections.