December 21st: During winter exams, see a bulletin board on campus suggesting that you apply to an overseas internship program assessing the soil quality of regions of Africa for the purpose of well-building. Tell yourself it would be “really engaging and world changing” and make a promise to yourself that you’ll check out the website when you get home, then finish writing your term paper on Wittgenstinean Ethics. Wittgenstinean Ethics? How un-applicable is that? What kind of buttfuck pretentious, head in the clouds major are you enrolled in, anyway? You should have joined the Peace Corps. All the interesting people join the Peace Corps. Feel terrible. Go buy a latte.
January 9th: Walk past the bulletin board again on your way to an on-campus burrito lunch you’re not entirely able to afford anymore and guiltily think “Oh yea! I forgot about that. I still have plenty of time, though.” Decide you won’t forget again. Forget immediately.
January 9th, (20 minutes later): Talk to your friends at lunch about how hard your job search is and how stressful you’re finding it. Watch everyone around you nod and bemoan their own situation and assume you’re all in the same boat. Ah, camaraderie.
January 15th: Get in touch with a financially responsible high school friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Find out she already has a job lined up working for some kind of human resources division in the municipal government that inexplicably pays three times everyone else’s pay rate – aside, of course, from those that strip or play online poker (remember Todd’s friend of a friend’s brother from Seattle who did that and made “like, thirty thousand dollars in three weeks”? Has anyone NOT heard this story?) Feel indignant, ask her how to apply and find out she applied last September. Which is fucking ridiculous.
January 31th: Have a really intense drunken conversation with this really, really cool guy in the falafel line downtown at 3 AM who’s going to be doing some kind of media job this summer in the city which you would be “totally perfect for.” His teeth are blindingly white and he seems “super genuine,” so when he tells you to “definitely apply,” head straight home to open up the website. Realize that now is not the ideal time to be doing this, and go to sleep still wearing your clothes.
February 1st (noon): Wake up, open the computer and see your half-filled-out application. Re-do all of it (obviously) and apply, even though you’re not sure the job pays in anything other than a superiority complex, “resume building” and the potential to occasionally run into “white tooth guy” (probably to find out he doesn’t remember you). Nonetheless, feel surprisingly good about your odds and realize that most internship applications are due around now anyway. No time like the present! Go on an internet-/campus-wide internship applying spree and wind up submitting your resume to all kinds of things for which you’re entirely ill-qualified because they require things like a “finance major” (which you can totally learn on the fly) or computer programming/design skills. Which you tell yourself you have. You’re applying online, aren’t you?
March 5th: While sitting in the library looking at Facebook and pretending to be doing something productive, hear some girl behind you whining about how she’s going to be working on a fairly major boutique fashion campaign this summer in Paris if she doesn’t have to take summer school for failing stats again (“Très Terrible! Sacrebleu!”). Realize you have not heard back from any of your potentially amazing internships and start panicking.
March 5th (two hours later): Go to the bank and find out that your bank statement is actually running a bit lower than you thought. Ok, a lot lower – probably from all the lunches or, erm, “falafel.” Realize you’re going to have to get a higher paying job than an internship if you’re going to want to keep eating or drinking anything at all. Realize you’re going to have to get two internships. And start selling drugs. Lots of drugs. And stripping! But you can’t strip – too many lunches. YOU’RE SCREWED. Go home and flip the fuck out. Call your parents and ask them if they can get you a job working at their office. Wonder how the hell you let this get so far. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
March 7th: Get condescendingly told by your parent to go find an “actual job.” Be all “What do you mean by ‘actual’? Don’t you respect what I want to do with my life?” and be reminded curtly that you owe them utilities money that isn’t going to pay itself. Hear a sarcastic remark about McDonald’s and the sound of your parents high-fiving each other over the phone. Be really pissed.
March 7th, (the moment you hang up the phone): Realize your parents are right, but still ask all your friend’s parents for a job and do several more internet searches, this time for fashion internships in Paris and soil quality assessment jobs in the Sanagra River Basin before you get a grip on the dire reality of your situation and actually start looking for work.
March 8th to April 30th: Apply to everything. Get laughed at by construction companies, have your resume thrown into the “pile for review” by at least ten unique thirty-five-year-old bleach blonde waitresses who look at you like they’re about to spit in your face like llamas, and get dismissed politely from each and every “desk job” you apply for with no decent explanation. Try to work at the local used bookstore because you like books and this seems slightly less torturous than most things, then realize that all the bookstore employees have masters degrees in eighteenth century literature. Apply to a series of trendy retail shops and lie about your “retail work” experience unconvincingly while hoping to get hired for good hair and irony, neither of which you have. Realize your undergraduate arts major actually has not qualified you for anything other than being a “part-time barista,” and take that job with barely-disguised relief. Also take some sort of “pay what you complete” sales job that hires you on the spot and promises to be your “highest paying summer job ever!” Hope they’re not full of shit, because you really need to pay your phone bill.
May 3rd: Realize they’re full of shit. Move home a miserable failure with one part-time job, one part-time “full of shit” job that is going to pay you based on what you sell (which is going to be nothing because you’re MISERABLE and no one buys anything from miserable people), an unpaid phone bill and a deep, depressing (and oh so rational!) feeling rising in your gut that there is absolutely no way you’re going to survive in the real world, ever.
May 10th: Wake up one morning to a response from one of those ridiculously interesting internships you applied to back in February. Barely remember which one it was and wrack your brain for relevant information such as the job description, pay, information about the company and whether you actually have a resume even remotely resembling what they asked for. Tell yourself to chill because “well, they’ve called back, haven’t they?” Do a premature victory dance and start eating lunch again – you don’t have to strip just yet.
May 12th: Be so terrifyingly desperate/ enthusiastic in the interview for the internship that you… actually get the job. Tell EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY. Go home and sit by yourself for a minute. Realize you’re actually going to have to do something and read over the information your new internship sent you at least four times. Suddenly feel wildly under-qualified and go buy “creative casual” work clothes you still can’t afford. This, somehow, will fix everything.
May 14th: Start work. Spend the entire summer working long hours as both an intern and barista, intermittently rambling incessantly about how lucky you are to have gotten this gig/ complaining incoherently about how exhausted you are and how unfairly you’re treated by everyone. Drink so much coffee you get stomach problems and type something like 30,000 pages of “policy notes.” At the end of the summer, get a decent reference and not nearly as much money as you need for the year (but enough, right? Money isn’t everything… right?). Head back to school, prepared for another eight months of overpriced luncheons and late night “falafels.”
Learn absolutely nothing.