Originally published on February 17, 2012 on Beyond the Elms: Scripps College Career Planning & Resources Blog.
Sounds of splashing and giggles and blasting Lady Gaga drift in through my window, tempting me to venture out into the ideal California sunshine. It’s rather difficult to force myself to stay in my desk chair when my dorm room has a view of the field house pool, tantalizing me with the promise of bikinis and boys and beautiful palm trees.
Moments like these are what make me bitter about internship applications. Why should I spend hours working on applications, hoping they’ll earn me a chance to do more work, hoping that work may help me find better work later? And by better work, I mean work that actually pays. But alas, this is the twisted world of the job market.
I don’t want to be brainstorming more snazzy synonyms of “hardworking.” I don’t want to spend an hour reformatting my resume into a new, attention-grabbing design, only to decide it looked cleaner the first way. I don’t want to debate if some of my high school achievements are impressive, or just juvenile. That is not how I want to spend my Friday.
But I do it anyways. Why do I do it anyways? Why do I work so I can work so I can work more? In what world is that what I want?
Strangely enough, it’s this world.
To remind me of that strange fact, I reach for the binder of clippings on my bookshelf. Inside is every article I’ve written for my high school paper, the Los Altos Town Crier, where I interned last summer, and The Student Life here in Claremont. That binder is proof that what I’m working for isn’t just the opportunity to work more – I’m working for the right to create, for the joy of creating, for the rush of knowing people read what I write.
I work every day for the special days, the days when the story I wrote about my Grandma’s stroke gets published and she and all her friends in her rehab facility know that their story was told. I work for those days when my writing makes someone’s life even just a little bit better.
Because, at the end of the day, all lounging at the pool would get me is painfully sunburned shoulders. (No, I don’t tan.) If I stay inside, work only interrupted by the few times I lean too far back in my desk chair and am temporarily certain I’m about to fall to my death, I may not have as much fun. But the feeling of printing out something I’ve written – whether an obscenely edited resume or this very blog post – well, that feeling beats poolside fun any day. That pride, that sense of accomplishment, that sense of purpose – that is what I work for. I work to work to work because in working, and in writing, I am reminded that I am here for a reason.
So, for today, here at my desk is exactly where I want to be. Tomorrow? Tomorrow I’ll go to the pool.