Three years ago, if you told me I’d be facing my senior year wondering where the last three years went, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Three years ago, if you told me, at 18, that at 21 I’d be worried about full-time employment, apartments, loan payments, and where I was going to live in a year from now, I’d be completely surprised.
Not only am I wondering when life, and the real world, snuck up on me, I’m wondering if I should really be surprised that I’m worried about this now, as opposed to 6 months from now when the rest of my peers will worry about it.
If I’ve learned one thing (and trust me, I’ve learned a lot more than that) in the past 3 months of my internship, it’s this: life doesn’t wait for you to catch up with it, and it won’t be handing anything to you anytime soon.
I spent 3 amazing months interning at a TV station, lucky for me, I learned a few things about my career choice and what the past three years of school has meant for me. For one, I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. However, what I did learn that shocked me a bit were the options I could have, and I opened my mind to other avenues in television. While the ultimate goal is, and always has been, to be a reporter, I could definitely see the appeal to being a producer as well… especially down the road if I chose to get married and have a family (ya know, like I said, if anyone would ever want to settle down with my crazy self). After working with one of the station’s new TV shows, and closely with the producers of that show, I see the appeal, and the fun, of working in production.
Here’s something I did learn though that sort of scared me: after spending all of my life saying I will live and work in NYC post-graduation – the hub of what I want to do – I’m second guessing it. It’s true what they say it is a rat race out there. Frankly, people are very angry sometimes (especially at 8am or 5pm) and while I did meet plenty of people who made it worth it, or were willing to help, I met just as many people who were willing to step all over me or even be down-right mean (i.e. the man on the 5:23pm train that yelled at me to move my foot out of his way, thus prompting another woman to yell at him but still, why so angry?)
I know that I could handle it, but I just don’t know if it’s worth it to me anymore. People in NYC, especially those people commuting, can be very jaded sometimes. I think that unless I’m making enough money to live in a nice area and not have to have a far commute (like, from Long Island), and survive on my own two feet, I would be absolutely miserable. I don’t want to be broke and angry. (Inevitably, based on my loans and the job market, I’m sure I’ll be poor, ha ha).
So there was that realization. Obviously, it prompted me to start searching the internet at 9pm (which, when you’re working 2-10am, is extremely late and silly) for jobs and apartments in NY, RI, CT, MA and NJ…
First of all, there was no point in that because even if I did find a dream job, it’ll be filled long before I’m even able to apply. But second, and more importantly, the jobs I want are far and few and it’s not going to be easy. Especially when they all require experience in front of and behind a camera, which, if you’re unfamiliar with union rules, it’s impossible to get experience behind a camera at an internship without breaking lots of rules that no one will break.
So I’m left with a lot of questions right now: will I get the job I want and what happens if I don’t? Do I move back home after graduation or embark on a new journey, find some roommates, and live somewhere else? Will I be able to handle the job search mentally and emotionally? Will I make enough money to survive, and enjoy life post-graduation? Will my 20s post-grad really be an amazing experience, or will it be stressful and terrifying? And finally, when the heck am I going to work on my honors thesis with move-in approaching so quickly?
Well, I know the answer to that last one: right now.