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Posts Tagged ‘internships’

It’s the summer time folks, at least for another few weeks. I hope all of you have been having a good summer. Some of you (heck, probably almost all of you) are trying to figure out how you’re going to pay your bill for the fall semester. You are not alone! That’s both good and bad. It’s good because you know there are others you can commiserate with, but it’s bad because there are others you’re competing with for precious resources. Isn’t that how it goes though?

I’ve been spending my days at the Center for New York City Affairs. We have some really interesting events coming up this fall. Make sure you stayed tuned to your emails and the New School calendar. Also make sure you follow the Center on Twitter.

What have you been up to this summer? Exciting internships? Looking for jobs post-graduation? What’s the word hummingbird?

Oh, if you are looking for a job, don’t forget that the Milano Career Connections group meets every Wednesday from 4:30pm – 6:00pm at 72 Fifth Avenue, Room 528. It’s a great opportunity to connect with other Milano alumni who are also on the job hunt. Sometimes Milano alum actually drop in with job offers, so don’t sleep! Contact the Career Development and Placement office for more information.

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The second year, third semester is under way. We’re in the third week, so why does it feel like the sixth? Summer was good and productive.  I interned in Newark, NJ working on public education. Very good and eye-opening experience. I didn’t plan to get an internship in education policy but it definitely broadened my policy scope. I went to a session Career Development on internships last semester in which one of the students recommend keeping your options open, and I agree with that 100%.

But enough about the summer, we’re back in school now.  I’m taking four classes. Two of them deal with finance. Did I mention I’m not quantitatively inclined? I’m taking these classes precisely because I’m not strong in this area. I figure it’s better to work on your weaknesses in grad school than to only focus on your areas of strength. There’s no point to spend all of this money on a degree just to augment what you do well and not learn any new skills. In fact, isn’t learning new skills the purpose of going to school? Yup. Exactly.

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Growing up there were always those kids who relished the last day of school. They counted every day, hour, second until the final ringing of the bell and the opportunity to loosen the tie and to get out the ‘monkey suit’ commonly known as our school uniform.  For me I knew that summer just meant a different schedule, but structure none the less. By college I regarded summer break as the opportunity to process and store away the previous semester before returning to the trough in the Fall. Part of the beauty of having 4 years to complete undergrad is if you fall of track you have time to get back on track … or at least a summer or two to find your way back.

This June as I finished up my first semester I found myself exhausted. Mostly mentally exhausted but by proxy a little bit physically exhausted.  For my first semester I expected more reading. I expected a scheduling that would be a challenge having hoofed it from 9 to 5 for the last few years.  I expected a learning curve for writing, and most of all I expected to be physically exhausted by the end of the semester.  What I definitely didn’t expect was the group process to kick my tail. It challenged me at times, it begged me to catch up at other times and most of all by the end of the semester I realized it had enriched what I learned through the course readings.  By June I had transformed into one of those kids counting off the days to the ‘official’ start of summer.  I spent a few weeks trying to get back some semblance of my pre-grad school schedule. I spent another few weeks decompressing….and boy was that fun.  But before I knew it I was hit with the panic.

For the full time (2 year program) student you have one summer to make sure you haven’t fallen off track, aren’t about to fall off track or to figure out what your track should be. Many, arguably most paid internships take place during the summer (corporations/organizations use paid internships geared towards grad students as a stop gap on projects during the summer months when salaried employees are often using vacation time). Besides the internship route summer makes an excellent time for figuring out post program fellowships.  By the time I decompressed and before I knew it…it was July and I had 35 days  left  to summer.

Of course by July most paid internships are gone. While I’ve squandered part of my summer and have lost some internship opportunities I’ve been plugging away with figuring out the post-school-fellowship-thing. Also to make sure I am on track to finish up strong in my program I have been reworking my resume, updating my interview skills, working references, looking for spring or (next) summer internship opportunities that I will be able to parlay into employment opportunities …. cause the job market is no joke.  While summer is about decompressing it is more about keeping focus for year 2 and staying on track to capitalize on the grad school experience.

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I really am still here. I swear. My blogging absence has been dutifully noted and will be addressed tonight. Right after a 15 minute power nap…zzzzz……. Ok, just kidding. But I really have had to resort to power naps lately at a rate not seen since the days of my last semester of undergraduate. Warning: The faint of heart should not enroll in 19 credit hours, work 10 hours at an internship (unpaid!), work 30+ hours at a PT job, be involved in school activities and attempt to finish a senior thesis all at the same time. But somehow I survived that, and I intend to survive my first semester here in grad school at Milano. (Plus I suppose it all worked well for me since I earned an A+ on my senior thesis and was hired from my internship into full-time staff after graduation.)

It’s not as if my schedule is really even that full right now, compared to the above or compared to many students who work full-time while attending school full-time, have children and families or are attempting to juggle classes with teaching assistantships. But compared to my first few months here, I’m exhausted, and for the most part, happy about it.

For all students this time of year is stressful and busy. Finals- enough said. Which may be why I am now questioning the reason I began interning at a nonprofit consulting firm last week, instead of simply starting in the beginning of Spring semester. For all practical purposes, I know why it worked out this way: I was interested in the firm and was eager to jump into the projects, they asked me to start at this time, etc. etc… But working on top of the many group projects Milano throws at us, plus tending to my numerous final semester-long papers has been a handful.

What I remembered after these past few weeks though, is that I work best like this. Procrastination tends to creep up when I have too much free time tempting me to watch movies and do fun art projects instead of study. With less free time, I know that I only have X amount of hours to do Y paper. No ifs and or buts about it, I have to do it NOW. It gets finished and I am more focused! I wouldn’t say that everything benefits from this focused time management (just ask my family who I never call, my boyfriend who I never see despite the fact that we live together in a tiny apartment, my gym membership, my laundry or my dishes…) but right now, the most important tasks are getting the attention they deserve, and I’m happy to do it.

It’s not as if any of this is groundbreaking or news to any graduate student, but for some reason it took me a few months to remember. Now my goal is to NOT forget it in January when May finals seem soooo far away…

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