It’s that dreaded time of the year again: internship season. The hunt is on, and it’s a fierce one. Resembling something very close to The Hunger Games, internship season is a battle. Finding the perfect summer internship to complete your resume, provide you with much needed experience and possibly — just possibly — help you snag that coveted dream job is invaluable. Regardless of school, class or concentration, University students across campus are putting on their best game face and compiling resumes that make even the brightest of us envious.

As if midterms weren’t reason enough to worry, add to this the immense pressure of finding an A-list internship — in nowhere else but New York, Chicago or Washington D.C., of course — and it’s easy to understand why so many of us are feeling rather anxious. It’s a cutthroat, dog-eat-dog world out there, and when it comes to landing the ideal summer internship, the competition only heightens.

I mean, there’s no shame in calling it quits and spending a fifth consecutive summer lifeguarding at home, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with lifeguarding, waitressing or babysitting for the millionth summer in a row. That’s exactly what I did my first summer back home, and my measly salary almost managed to cover the six weeks I spent “studying” in Spain. But this summer is different. I’m no longer the hopeless, confused freshman I was three years ago. As much as I’d love to roll aimlessly around my hometown all summer or travel the world with the money I don’t have, it’s no longer a viable option. Somewhere along the way I grew up. I declared a double major, discovered my niche and decided it’s time to plunge into this season’s Hunger Games.

So here I am: still internship-less, anxious and ready to politely smack the next person who brags about his or her killer salary and summer bonus to me — If you’re a friend or person I actually care about, I’ll gladly make an exception. Nevertheless, I’m on a serious prowl to lock something down for the summer before I’m stuck back home living on the streets, considering my mother will most definitely be barricading the doors if I can’t find some useful way to spend my four-months of freedom.

But when I accidentally overhear my fellow peers bragging about the multitude of internships they’ve already applied for, or learn about the casual $25-an-hour my friends in the Business School will be making, I can’t help but feel a touch disheartened. Just last week one of my roommates in the College of Engineering received a gift basket from a company before even accepting their offer. Were we ecstatic for her? Yes. Were we wondering where our presents were? Of course.

At this point, I’m praying my LSA expertise will land me a job sorting paperclips or counting ballpoint pens somewhere on the East Coast. Rather melodramatic, I know, but I truly wish this whole process wasn’t so damn cutthroat. I have friends who legitimately avoid B-Schoolers during recruitment so that they don’t have to listen to the constant ranting and stressing which just adds to everyone’s anxiety, fueling the manic nature of the hunt.

The tears and sobs following a rejection letter, the excited Facebook status following an offer — I’ve witnessed both. Hell, I’ve even received those much-dreaded rejection letters myself and managed to survive. I think at times we become so wrapped up in this hunt that we fail to recognize that regardless of what happens, we’ll be alright. In the grand scheme of things, landing the ideal summer internship may seem like the end-all be-all of our college careers, but there’s so much more to it than that.

When one door closes for us, new ones open. We gain the opportunity to explore different interests, try something new and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Maybe we didn’t land that incredible internship in the heart of New York City with a fabulous wage and bonus. But on the plus side, we did gain the opportunity to seize a new experience and explore the boatload of other options out there.

No one likes being rejected from anything whether it’s an internship, job or coveted leadership position. However, we need to step back for a moment and realize that the internship quest is not the earth-shattering situation we make it out to be. There will always be more opportunities that lie ahead, and, in the meantime, whoever said Ann Arbor isn’t a classy place to spend the summer?

Sarah Skaluba can be reached at sskaluba@umich.edu.

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