Like a lot of my peers, the pandemic threw off my summer plans. I was feeling down because the articles kept popping up about how the job market was declining and how statistically, things were likely not in my favor. I was hoping that by summer, a vaccine would magically appear, and life could resume back to normal. After laying around the house watching endless streams of YouTube videos for a few weeks, I realized that realistically, things were changing drastically in the world. I could only try to make the best use of the resources available to me.
I started to think about applying to internships but was filled with hesitation and doubt.
Questions and thoughts running through my mind were…
- If people with more experience than me were getting laid off, how could I get a job/internship?
- I want to work in the event industry, but all events are postponed, so will anyone even hire?
- Maybe I should just apply, but would I just be wasting time?
- Companies are probably so overwhelmed with applicants, and I might not even get a response.
- Should I wait till things pick back up?
- I guess I could just apply to random things? Any experience is still experience…
- Maybe I should just chill for the summer?
Despite the uncertainty, I decided to throw myself out there.
Sprawled out on my bed, I lazily logged into Handshake and browsed. Some exciting positions caught my eye immediately on my ‘For You’ page (thank you Handshake algorithms). I decided to just go for it and applied to two positions: a recruiting assistant job and an event planning/marketing internship.
To be honest, I didn’t really expect to hear back. My mindset was: if I hear back, great! More experience. If not, eh, I can catch up on all the movies and shows in my watchlist. About a week or two later, I received an email from the event planning company, Above & Beyond Events, inviting me to an interview. I was surprised and excited but also confused because I really didn’t expect an event planning company to be looking for any interns at the moment. Fast forward a week, I was doing my first official online interview for an official position (I felt very adult). I had done mock online interviews before, but I really didn’t know what to expect.
I had done so many interviews before, I thought I could tackle the questions just fine. What I didn’t expect, however, was… dUn-DUn-DuN… connectivity issues. There would be awkward pauses because it took a while for whatever I was saying to be heard on my interviewer’s end, and every time she talked, the screen would stutter. I thought I was bombing the interview.
To my surprise, she told me that the company would love to have me start as soon as possible (or at least that was what I could piece together from the lags). I was so excited I forgot about the world’s craziness for a moment and how this internship would even work.
Since then, I have been able to still get an incredible experience. The work consists of many emails, heavy use of Google Docs, and quite a few hours on Pinterest, but I love it! Learning about all the event planning logistics and getting that experience, as I had initially hoped to have this summer, has reminded me to push past my fear of failure. Rather than coming up with excuses for myself, I used this opportunity to focus on the goals I had floating in my mind. Even with the pandemic disrupting my original summer plan, I have been able to focus on spending more time with family, reconnecting with mentors and friends, take on an internship, and maintain my part-time job. I have even found time to start studying for the GMAT, pick up new hobbies, exercise more often, eat healthier, finally edit those vacation videos, and binge through shows and movies.
The one piece of advice I would pass on to everyone (pandemic or not) would be to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE.
They come and go so often, but I witness many people “waiting for the right time” or “waiting for the right opportunity.” However, they forget no one can really predict the future. You won’t know if an opportunity was taken during the right moment or if it was the perfect one. What matters is that you tested it, learned from it, and there are more to come. That’s what an opportunity is: a set of circumstances that make it possible to do something. So I hope the one takeaway from this is to take your resources and make it into something, anything; push through the fear of failure.
P.S. The Chapman Office of Career and Professional Development is a great place to start.