It feels like deja vu all over again this spring. This time last year I was unsure of where I would end up doing an internship at. I was offered an internship with the Forest Service in Minnesota and was looking forward to it. Then I tore up my knee in a freak accident, had surgery, and well that internship was out of the question because it would have required a lot of physical labor.
Then I landed an internship in Washington DC. I was really excited about that but the paperwork took too long, and by the time I knew for sure I had the job, all the practical, semi-affordable (nothing is affordable in Washington DC) housing options were gone. Looking back, I should have went anyway and just settled for a room in someone’s basement.
I’ve had a couple interviews already for two different positions this summer. One I turned down because I didn’t feel like it was right for me and the other I’m waiting to hear back on. If I don’t get it, it’ll be okay. The positions are very competitive. Really, I’m thrilled that I’ve been offered jobs and interviews considering I’m not a traditional college student.
Luckily government HR folks don’t seem to care if you’re old as much as private HR recruiters do. I also like that the phone interviews I’ve had for government jobs are no-nonsense. They haven’t asked me what kind of kitchen appliance I most identify with or what my spirit animal is. I know I’ve taken the quizzes on Facebook but I’m always highly skeptical of the results.
Yes, I have been asked the dreaded what is your greatest weakness question. I hate that question. I want to answer, “My greatest weakness is trying to think of a weakness quickly, without it being obvious that I’ve skipped over my first 20 weaknesses to get to one that doesn’t make me sound unemployable.” And even though I’m not a millennial, I’m equally as horrible speaking on the phone. I can text till the cows come home and shoot off an email with ease, but speaking, out loud, to another, human being, on the phone, without, sounding, like an idiot, uh, uhm, not, so, much. However, I’ve discovered that phone interviews are just as awkward for the interviewer as the interviewee. Some interviewers sound just as frazzled as I do, which makes for some interesting “conversations”. Neither one of us knows what we’re saying. Once the Baby Boom generation is gone, nobody will ever speak to each other again on the phone. Natural selection will have ripped that adaptation out of the human species.
If an internship doesn’t pan out, I’ll be heading to Oregon for a week-long summer class. I want to experience my university campus in person before I graduate. Hey, I’m paying for that fancy campus. Mostly though, I just want to take on one of my biggest fears that I’ve yet to conquer and that’s traveling by myself. It sounds ridiculous at my age to say that but I guess I’m a late bloomer. I refuse to be a fraidy cat forever. If I can pull it off, it’ll be my greatest victory over a lifetime of battling anxiety. If I come back in a straightjacket, well, I guess it wasn’t a good idea. As soon as I know I’ll have a room on campus, I’ll buy the plane ticket, and, oh boy!