Spoiler alert: its really really boring.
This past semester while studying abroad I did not work. I did not have a job or an internship. It was different for me considering I had an internship every year of college, and a Summer job since I was fourteen years old. It was an unfamiliar feeling that I was not use to.
Working was something that I always enjoyed, and made sure that almost every job or internship I had aligned with what I would like to do in the future. It gave me motivation and built my ambition to take on more tasks. Overall become a better professional, but more importantly the best me I can be at work and at home.
When it came time to leave for Florence it still hadn’t hit me that I would not be working. I had set myself up to believe that I would be traveling Europe with pure joy and content; and I did. I enjoyed every minute of it. But as the top of April rolled around I noticed something.
Florence had become my new norm. It had become my average day with a repetitive pattern. I had no drive besides school, which was already a given since the start. I needed something to push and excite me other than traveling. I felt unproductive and felt that I was wasting money. Throughout the semester I had been sending out my resume and applying for Summer positions, along with setting up interviews. I had friends asking me for advice and revisions on their resume after they noticed that I was proactively looking for work. All of this work had led me to the position I have today at Discovery Communications and I love it so far.
But I learned something when I returned home. I wasn’t wasting time. I wasn’t wasting money by not working. I was working towards being the best me I can be in unusual and ever changing environments. Visiting different countries and meeting different people has taught me how to adjust and to think quickly on my feet. To plan ahead of time in order to prevent mishaps. Although I wasn’t getting paid to travel (how great would that be?), I was learning and growing upon life.
I’ve recently read an opinion article on AdWeek by Kate Jeffers where there is a stereotypical belief towards women. That she is usually expected to choose “life” over “work” when it came to “life vs. work.” But that isn’t necessarily the case. Work has become part of our lives because it shapes the way we live, how we socialize, and how we carry on. The recognition of the drive, ambition, and love that we have for our work helps us shape the best person we would like to be in the present time.
This is what I felt while working at my internships and Summer jobs. Whether it was being camp counselor at my local day camp (or their photographer), creating email newsletters and writing for a lifestyle brand, to managing the social media platforms of a small agency that catered to the modern Asian market. I tried to be the best version of myself I could be. Recognizing this early on in my life has definitely shaped who I am in the office at Discovery, who I am at home, and who I am to my friends.
For those who are reading this because they feel down about employment, my advice to you is to be proactive. Be proactive in something that interests you. Whether if it’s art or science, find programs that will uplift you as a professional and make the best of it to make yourself a better person. It’s hard and frustrating at first, but once that opening comes along believe in yourself the most at that point. Give the best you can because you never know who you’re going to meet and where you’re going to be the next day.
It never comes easily but recognize your strengths and be ambitious with them because you never know where you’ll be that you can say
all is swell.