By: Manveetha Muddaluru
Feeling like this summer just isn’t living up to what you thought it would be? Do you keep asking yourself, “Where has the time flown???” It seems like it’s the tale of every university student. After being here for 4 years, I’ve become pretty accustomed to this feeling. It’s amazing to think that in first year, I thought having a four-month summer break would be too long. Now I think that it isn’t long enough.
As scary as it is, with half the summer and 2018 behind us, it’s a great time to reflect on any goals you set for yourself in January. I myself have realized that I have achieved absolutely none of mine. I’ve basically spent most of the summer catching up on all the TV shows and sleep I missed during the school year, and now listening to Drake’s Scorpion on repeat. So, when Drake said, “What you got, time on your hands, or time on your side?” I felt that.
I never usually set New Year’s resolutions or goals, in fear that I won’t achieve them (great logic, I know). But knowing that I was going to stay for a fifth year, I wanted to really use my time left in university wisely to plan ahead for what I would be doing after graduation next summer.
In January, my big goal for the summer was to figure out my career path and gain more work experience within my field of interest: communications. At the time, I wanted to diversify my work experience section in my resume and like many other university students, I wanted to get an internship in Toronto. After working on campus for the past two summers, I wanted a change from the quiet campus and felt that working in the bustling city would offer just that. Also, other than the fact that there are a lot of opportunities in the city, saying that you’re working in the 6ix just sounds cool!
However, as I began reading job postings, I realized that reaching my goal would be harder than I had thought. Mentally, it was daunting to imagine working in an industry that I had no specific experience and lacked insider knowledge in. I was scared to get out of my comfort zone. I had only switched into the Communication Studies program in September 2017 and I didn’t have the confidence that I could apply what I was learning in the classroom to succeed in the “real world.”
By the end of March, I realized that I needed to take baby steps to reach my goal and be open to opportunities closer to home. I was so obsessed with the idea of working in Toronto and finding the perfect internship that I forgot the reason why I wanted one in the first place: to gain experience!
So, when I found out about this blogging position at the SSC, I decided it was the right first step to do something related to communications in a work environment I was comfortable in, while also conquering my fear of creative writing. My reasoning was, “If I could go from growing bacteria in Petri dishes and learning organic chemistry to writing essays in the Humanities (one of science students’ worst nightmares), maybe I can do this too.” Now, two months later, I’ve learned how to create a website using WordPress, gotten the chance to express my creativity, and gained more confidence in working in communications.
Looking back, I’ve only now come to realize that the way this summer has turned out has actually been a blessing in disguise. I’ve not only developed more skills, I’ve also made strides in figuring out the answer to the dreaded, “What do you want to do when you graduate?” Working on-campus has given me the chance to attend multiple career counselling appointments at the SSC with Kerri, the undergraduate career counsellor. I can happily say that after more than two years of appointments and endless nights of Googling, I have a vision (though, not as detailed as one of Raven’s) of the career path I want to pursue after next April.
Needless to say, my summer has been far from what I expected it to be in January. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that although it is good to be persistent, it’s also just as important to reflect, assess, and make some changes to your goals.
So, if you’re feeling a little stuck, take a small (or big) risk and try out something new. You might just stumble upon the clarity and direction you need in your life!
Manveetha Muddaluru blogged about her student experience for the Student Success Centre from 2018 to 2019.