Being in the middle of the unpleasant but seminal hunt for internships, Eleonora Kleibel struggles with a new level of uncertainty and future anxiety.
Last week I managed to mark a new milestone: 20 internship applications submitted. After telling the 20th potential employer how “certain” I am that I match the profile right on spot and that “it feels justified” to say that I bring the necessary skills and know how, I must admit future anxiety hit me with a new record.
Being generally a rather positive person, coping with this new emotional challenge was surprisingly difficult. Especially when the first, sometimes friendly, sometimes flat, rejections came flying in my inbox I started to question what I am doing wrong, what I truly want to do and more fatal, who I really am.
I used to look with a mixture of scorn and disapproval on peers who seemingly had no other goal put polishing their own CVs since the age of 15. Being haunted by my juvenile idealism I wonder, is there anything else I could have done? Should I have joined more extra curricular activities? Learnt another language? Completed a second internship instead of traveling that one summer through South East Asia?
What is striking me even more is the number of elbows you apparently need to have, to be successful in our modern world. Graduate students and young professional seem to find themselves in a never ending hunt for more prestige, more success, not realising they are running without a clear goal insight. Because of the fierce competition in this never-ending marathon some have seemingly forgotten why they were running in the first place and end up in that lousy dog-eat-dog-mentality.
As much as one tries, it is difficult to not let the omnipresent pressure, competition and stress for young people from becoming too dominant.
I am not able to make proper plans for this summer, leave alone knowing where I will be in autumn, whilst some friends from school days are sharing Facebook-pictures of their second baby. Rationally knowing that I consciously decided to follow a different path does sometimes not help.
It takes a lot of strength to realise that this seemingly scary time might also be actually truly thrilling. Choosing where the next cross-road is going to lead you and being open to new challenges also has positive and exciting sides to it. My advice is to embrace the uncertainty and regard this phase of life a potential moment to reflect and redirect your paths. But most importantly: don’t let the dogs eat you.