Getting there

Seine Embankment © Natalia Martinez

“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it” – John Ruskin

This quote might be a bit naive, or even a bit subversive by making us believe that the means are more important than the end. In some ways, this is a bit of what losers say, but winners never have to admit or consider. In reality, it is misleading for any of us to think that our results – the so-called “ends” – do not matter. But, finding myself in the middle of a summer internship search even though I thought this mad torturous dash would be over in college once again, I have gathered some comfort from focusing on the getting-there-I’m-working-on-it-almost-there process.

And so, I’ve allowed myself the luxury of a retrospective pause to consider where my previous internship searches have lead and how the search itself has molded me. In truth, I’ve traveled around the world, worked at amazing organizations, learned to search for and apply for fellowships and grants, and been exposed to a growing network of internationals. More importantly, I’ve had to learn the hard way that having an inquisitive mind or a brand university name behind you is not enough (nor should it be) to get what you want and know how to maximize and nurture it. Through the years of applications and nervous spring semesters, I’ve molded my “it only takes one” philosophy of risk calculation: if you apply to 100 programs and get rejected from 99, who cares, if all you needed was that single lucky strike!? Following this logic, there is no need to fear the disillusion of failure as long as you keep trying.

I admit that the internship search this year has been particularly frustrating, but I guess that in this case, the ‘means’ really do contribute almost as much as the ‘ends.’


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