20something profile: Lauren
As a 23-year-old in this day and age, things have been a lot tougher than I thought they would be.
In high school we all aspire to go to our dream universities and to major in something that will help us become successful. Most of us didn’t even think that after four years at that dream school, we would be spending months searching and waiting for a job to come our way. Or that most of the time, we all just end up at internships that seem only to lead you to another internship.
I, of course, was a naïve high school student. I bought into the dream of attending my dream school, which I did end up attending and loved every minute of it. I loved Ohio State so much that if, right now, someone said they would pay me to go back for another four years, I would do it in a heartbeat. I was so in love with being at school that I was in disbelief that it was time to end my undergraduate career in June, 2012.
When I graduated I still had high hopes and unset plans for the future. It was scary, and yet at the same time, exciting. I had a blank canvas ahead of me, and I felt pretty confident that I was ready to start my career in Public Relations.
I studied Strategic Communications (basically PR), which I was told is a thriving field and I would have no problem finding a job. So you can see why I had such high expectations. I honestly believed I would maybe look for a job for a few months and then land that once-in-a- lifetime opportunity.
I watched many of my friends find jobs within a month or two after graduation, but I was not so lucky. I landed a six month unpaid internship. Now don’t get me wrong, I was excited to be getting more experience to add my résumé. But after about month four of no payment and seeing none of the perks my boss promised during the interview, I was burnt out.
There was also no assurance that I would be hired on full time, which also had me on edge. And in March, my six months was up, and my boss broke the news to me that she couldn’t afford to pay me. I was free to stay, but she was unsure about when I would be getting a full time position, so I gracefully took my exit.
Now here I am, unemployed. I won’t say that the last six months were a waste of time. I learned a few things, practiced my writing, and was able to earn some experience to beef up my résumé. I have learned an important lesson from this ordeal, and it is to beware of internships.
When I interviewed for mine, I was promised so many things that never happened. I was told that I would be able to network, get prime PR experience and that I would learn more than I would at an agency. Because of this convincing speech, I canceled an interview at a top PR agency in the city.
Unfortunately, after six months of waiting for all of these things, I never received one perk. I left feeling taken advantage of and unfairly treated. I was so caught up in the romance of being a graduate and wanting a job right away that I didn’t realize what I was actually getting myself into.
Since my internship ended, I keep thinking about what would have happened if I had gone to that PR agency interview. But I don’t let myself get upset with the fact that things could have turned out differently because, like my mom always tells me, “Don’t worry about things you can’t control or change.”
As a jobless individual, I have learned that it can feel frustrating. That is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with. But I haven’t given up, which I believe is the most important thing to do in the job search process. I get up every morning and keep searching. I know that I will find something and that I will get a job. Even if, right now, it feels like I will never find anything.
I just know I can’t give up, and one day soon, I will have that PR career I dream of.