Other than checking my Bank of America statements online, I don’t really get many reality checks abroad. I go about my days eating bread, drinking wine, and watching non-French TV on non-French websites. It’s a simple life, really. Until I go on Facebook, and read about so-and-so’s internship in New York/D.C./San Francisco this summer. I scoff, take another swig of wine, and think, “Ha. Internships.”
And then I think, “Shit. Internships.” The most dreaded yet sought after word in a college student’s vocabulary. I thought studying abroad would allow me to disconnect myself from the stress of on-campus life (i.e. conversations in the Blue Room about interviews on Wall Street; “daddy’s friend” helping someone out during the job search; the endless stream of Career Lab e-mails). Instead, I get brief but painful reminders that I’m graduating next May and will be forced to become a real person, and it’s terrifying.
I had an internship last summer. It was actually awesome, albeit unpaid. It wore a hole in my wallet until working an on-campus job helped me regain what I spent on MetroCards and coffee breaks. Then I went abroad, which was possibly the worst financial decision of my life, especially when the exchange rate is never in my favor. So when I released the CareerLAB e-mails from the Spam prison of my Inbox and started kind of, sort of looking into internships for the summer, it hit me: if I have unpaid internship, I will not be able to support my coffee
addiction habit next semester. This might seem trivial, but my finances unfortunately revolve around caffeine.
I went on a long walk through a beautiful city, and seriously thought about the next six months of my life. I can’t spend the summer in Europe, because my parents made me buy my ticket home to make sure I
wouldn’t run off with a French man didn’t extend my six-month vacation. I missed the bus on paid internships, not that I tried very hard to begin with. So, I did what any person with $50 in the bank account left would do: I’m working a regular, full-time job this summer. I tell myself I will save the money to work an unpaid internship next summer, but let’s be real: it’s all going to go into Coffee Exchange lattes.