The Calm After the Storm and Before the Next Storm

The Calm After the Storm and Before the Next Storm

Us last semester, thinking things were crazy before things actually got absolutely crazy.
Photo credit: Ridvan Bolgi

I struggled to come up with something to write about for this blog post. We’re in an odd spot in the semester where things have calmed down but it’s not quite the end yet. We’ve finished our last two projects in State and National Government, we’re down to ironing out business plans in Journalism Startup, most of our Echo magazine stories have been fact-checked and copy-edited. We’re in the investigative portion of Legislative and Investigative, so there are no more stories and re-writes due weekly.

In all honesty, I guess it’s the calm after the storm. Time to recover. Get back to eating right. Sleeping at a decent time. Maybe try being social again? (Nah.)

But even though it’s kind of quiet academically, I have a lot to think about. It’s internship time for me and, even more, time to think about what I want to do and what kind of writer I want to be long term. I’m combing through PR and marketing, work with nonprofits, fashion magazines, event planning, social justice. ¬†Paid AND unpaid, at that.

The goal is to find and earn “the one” that will allow me to gain meaningful experiences that will propel me toward a meaningful life in (or outside) of this industry. Oh, and get paid reasonably.

See, that’s the biggest struggle of being a 26-year-old graduate student. Full-time work isn’t an option, but part-time work isn’t enough for the mountain of bills I’ve accumulated at this stage. Even at 20-21, interning 16 hours a week and working for pay for another indefinite number of hours and taking 16-17 hours worth of classes was a burnout lifestyle. That turned into working full-time after graduation at a somewhat fulfilling job with a mountain of responsibilities, most of which were mine because the organization’s unbalanced framework.

So, as I consider internships, I’m back to a recurring impasse: how do I get what I need out of this experience without burning myself out and falling into the myth of busy-ness and “grinding”? How do I maximize the short time I have left in this program without letting the industry take me under early? Specifically, how do I balance these very adult bills with these often unpaid (or close to it) learning experiences?

And I don’t have the answer to that just yet. But, hopefully, it’ll be more clear after this weekend. I’ll take advantage of this “calm” and comb through the dozens of emails, update my resume, modify cover letters, finally dedicate some time to jazzing up my LinkedIn… and figure out what my next step is. My next step that could lead to employment or, even, redirection of some sort. Either way, I’ll get my answers, I’ll find my direction. I’ll figure things out.

In the meantime, wish me luck.