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Internship Mayhem: The New Rat Race Among Students

It’s natural to feel stressed out when the world seems to move too fast around you. The college internship culture is the new rat race, and it is okay to feel confused and do things at your own pace. Here is a feel-good read that just might give you the clarity that you need!

You wake up with a jerk, disoriented. Your dream was a hazy, yet painful, crossover between a tale of two comedies- your career, and your love life. In the dark of the night, you scrunch your nose and with squinted eyes you peer at your phone screen, it’s 3: 55 AM and there are 6 forwards on Whatsapp. All of them being absurd internship offers. Suddenly your nightmare is as clear as the ketchup stain on your mother’s precious linen. Freud was right, and you can’t escape passions and fears by going to sleep.

The Pandemic has its unique ways of torturing its victims, and students are no exceptions. Living in isolation and maintaining social distancing initially meant taking a step back and getting in touch with yourself, but it was only a matter of time that the wretched competitive streak so finely tuned in our systems took over a most temporary peace of mind. The internship mayhem claims thousands of victims across the University of Delhi each year and the uncertainty prevailing this year only adds to it. Your friend just informed you about them securing a research intern position at a think tank; they have their career goals charted out and are constructively working towards realising those goals. And there you are- from lying all day in bed, amongst crumbs of crisps, the Netflix screen staring at you with the scrutiny of a disappointed father, you’re now frantically applying for internships and courses, trying to make up for 20 years of lethargy and procrastination over the course of a single night. 

Internships can be very valuable experiences that help us students get a close look at how organisations function and where we fit into them. Sometimes they can be a scam. However, getting muddled up in a pile of possible internships with no clear direction is the most common thing right next to skipping classes for a plate of hot momos.

Before you apply, take a deep breath and think. 
  • Why do you want to do this internship?
  • Is it relevant to your academic course and what skill building is there in it? 
  • Are you doing this internship because everybody else is doing one too, or are you genuinely interested in it?
  • Does it provide adequate monetary compensation for your labour?

In this mad mayhem of marketing internships that offer you apparently valuable certificates, a really important question to consider would be how it is contributing to your career trajectory. A systematic approach in looking for opportunities might help you achieve a sense of satisfaction and clarity-

  1. Categorising ideas into fields of interest such as politics, economics, commerce; 
  2. Consider sub interests such as research, marketing, journalism, content writing;
  3. The work culture of the organisation;
  4. Perks such as monetary compensation, letter of recommendation.

Once you assess the opportunity or your existing internship on these lines, you will have a much better idea on whether you are picking/have picked the right internship for yourself. Always remember that opportunities come in plenty, and you don’t have to do something that you find mind numbing.

Most importantly, hard as it is to believe, you are not going to be put on trial for feeling confused. You do not need to drown in this productivity competition. It is perfectly natural to do things at your own pace and beating yourself up about a missed or wasted opportunity does not help or change things. The universe is not conspiring against you, or it probably is. Whichever the case may be, you will find out in good time! The best you can do is being kind to yourself, and maybe spend a little less time mindlessly scrolling on Instagram?

Read also: Unpaid Internships: Are They Worth It?
Read also: Internship Woes: Finding the Right One

Feature Image Credits- Ksenia Anske

Shraddha Iyer

shraddhai@dubeat.com

Author

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.