Alright, let’s set the scene: I major in broadcast journalism in college; I had been doing everything in my power throughout my sophomore year to set myself up for a good summer internship at a big company; and I joined various clubs, held leadership positions in a few. During the spring semester, I decided to take on two internships during school, and by the end of the semester, I had completed five internships in total.
I. Did. Everything. Right… or so I thought.
Backtrack a little, applications for internships at big media companies roll around early February all the way through March, April the latest. So, I apply, apply, apply. I have everything to a T: my resumé looks good, I have an interesting cover letter, someone will definitely hire me.
Then May comes around. I got a couple of interviews, but the rejection emails just kept coming in. I felt a little disheartened, but I thought to myself, I will not do this summer without an internship. All my friends had internships set up for the summer, and none of them had done nearly as much as I had. So, I just decided to keep on applying to more internships, hoping that any company would take me.
I got nothing.
Every day, all my group chats filled with my friends complaining about their work problems or talking about hanging out in the city after work. I despised it. I joined in at times, trying to relate, but I longed for those problems. While all my friends were at work, I sat at home feeling sorry for myself. I felt like I had failed. I thought that everything I had done amounted to nothing, and I simply felt just not good enough. I moped around, did random babysitting jobs to make the time pass and earn a little money.
End of June comes around. As I lay in my bed and look around: my room’s a mess, I haven’t showered in days. Then I come to the realization: What the f–k am I doing? I had an epiphany that I needed to stop sulking around and do something. First, I showered, because ew, but then, I got my notebook out and just started writing all the ideas I had in my head. I realized that, without an internship, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted.
I brought myself out of this social norm box instilled in my brain that I had to follow the path that everyone else did.
I thought of freelance advertising for local sports teams or making promotional videos for summer camps, but those ideas weren’t making me jump out of my bed to go out and do it.
I finally decided on creating my own mini-documentary series. As soon as this idea came into my head the ball started rolling with who I could interview, how I wanted to shoot it, and all the places I could go. The thought of this project kept me up at night with the endless possibilities of what I could do, and that’s when I knew I had to go after it. I settled with making my focus on artists. But not in a literal sense, I wanted to focus on the theme of art as it is in its definition: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. This broadened my horizon in terms of people to interview but also gave me a focus on the type of people I looked for.
I didn’t have money to buy a camera, but after watching a million hours of vloggers on YouTube, I realized I didn’t need one; all of them use their iPhones anyway.
I bought a tripod and a portable microphone from Amazon and got to work. I started doing interviews, filming and editing, and I actually learned. I didn’t know anyone in an internship that got to do this kind of work. I got to have real conversations, meet the people I wanted to and got to explore.
Things really don’t work out the way you plan it or envision it in your head, but that’s okay. I figured out that’s really how all of life will go. I really believe in everything happening for a reason. I ended up learning more during this summer than any internship I had in the past and this semester. I received more acceptance letters from internships than ever because of what I did. So, if you get stuck in the same position, don’t get hung up on rejection. Use it as fuel for your next project that gives you an edge over others, use it to find something you have a passion for, and you’ll flourish. I know it.