I begin my senior year of college tomorrow, and I’ve been reflecting a lot on how I want to answer friends, classmates, and professors who ask about my summer. I’ve had a hard time putting it into words because it feels like a long story, so I thought I’d tell it here.
It wasn’t bad; it feels messy simply because I can’t easily organize the events that unfolded or all the emotions I felt along the way. Looking back from this point, I am now able to see how things worked out for the best, even though the process felt like a roller coaster I didn’t choose to ride–though, technically, I did.
I decided to sublease an apartment because I really wanted to experience a Chicago summer. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out living in a new neighborhood and gaining professional experience without the obligation of school. I got a jumpstart applying to internships and jobs during Spring Break last semester and then went through a long process with a competitive internship. The process ended with my being asked to apply again next year. I was bummed, but I began applying again.
When I moved into my sublease in June without a job, I figured that it was only a matter of time before I heard good news from someone. I went to another internship interview and was actually offered the position, but it ended up being very, very different than what I thought I was signing on for. So I declined and applied for an open position at a place where one of my friends works.
It made all the difference to my summer that I was hired, however, I started working a lot later than I expected to. It’s frustrating when you’re completely available to dedicate your summer to work, and you’re trying your hardest to do so, and the circumstances are simply out of your control. What’s more, is that when things don’t go according to your plan, you start kicking yourself for not sticking to a safer plan. My plan was to enjoy a beautiful, city summer on nights and weekends while I worked hard during the day to save for the future. It wasn’t that simple.
But like I said, I got that job. I love it, I still have it, and now, I have another that I’m even more excited about. Being in Chicago actually allowed me to interview for it, and my summer of adjusting to going with the flow prepared me to figure out last-minute logistics. I somehow navigated moving out of my sublease, then into my dorm early, and going on a brief trip with my family to drop my brother off at college in between. Plus, during the weeks I spent earlier in the summer trying to figure things out, waiting for responses, I did make good memories with my friends, here in Chicago and at home. I actually spent a lot more time in my hometown than I had planned, which worked out well so that I saw JT and my family a lot more than I thought I would.
I don’t have one big lesson I can chalk this summer up to, only a lot of little ones, mostly about myself. I think I’ll be unpacking my somewhat-erratic, but altogether positive experiences for months to come. Right now, what feels important is that I had the experiences at all and that they left me feeling open to whatever opportunities this school year is going to bring, whether or not they present themselves as neatly as I would like.
So, I think I’ll just say that my summer had a rocky start, but left me in a really, really good place.