The thing about grad school…at least what I’ve seen in the 5-6 weeks that I’ve been here….is that you are taught to question. Questioning the professor in class is acceptable and in some classes (like stats) encouraged. The learning environment here is to ask questions, get many answers and you yourself choose which one is the right one for you.
As I mentioned in my first post, not only am I working towards my MLHR degree but I am also pursing a master in Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA). While the HESA program was an afterthought I am becoming more and more excited about it and happy I am doing it. Both programs compliment each other extremely well and I am confident I will graduate a much more intelligent and well rounded person with many career paths in front of me. What I didn’t realize going into this was the challenge of internships, career crossroads, and constant second guessing.
It is interview time for summer internships. The internships here at Fisher seem to be very very competitive with a lot of outstanding companies coming to campus. I have been submitting my resume to many companies to be considered for an interview and was declined or put on the alternate list for about half of the companies and was granted three interviews (still waiting to hear back about one). This to me was slightly discouraging because I mean…who doesn’t want to be picked?
Two of my interviews were two weeks ago and while they went alright I was not made an offer/was not accepted for a second round interview. Again discouraging and more and more I was thinking it had something to do with my dual degree program. The program puts me on a three year track versus a two year track like all of my peers are on. Thus the way these internships are designed, you intern in the summer and typically in the fall you will be offered a full time position (if they like you and you did well) starting that next June…something that I cannot do.
This week I had another interview with a company that I was and still am incredibly interested in. Their products are ones that I use on a daily basis and enjoy and it was a company I would be proud to work for. There was an information session for interviewing students Monday night which I went to and it was the first information session that not only held my attention but it made me excited for the next day to interview. The interview on Tuesday went well, but the big question on the company’s mind was my educational path and why I felt it was necessary for the HR field to be pursuing higher education as well. While I was prepared for the question, what I wasn’t prepared for was the blunt honesty which I actually greatly greatly appreciated.
What it came down to was, they were interested in me but if I interned and was offered a full time job, it would be for the following June and I would have to fore-go my higher ed degree if I wanted to accept the job…something that is personally important to me and something that I do have an interest in for my long term goals. I was given a time frame in which I could remove myself from consideration.
Hearing this was a shock to the system and caused me to ask a lot of questions of myself. Am I doing the right thing by pursuing this dual degree program? Am I not going to be able to get an HR internship because of it? Will I automatically have to default into a higher ed career? Am I being forced to make a career decision now, 5 weeks into grad school? There were some tears, some phone calls home, and a lot of evaluating in a short time.
What it comes down to is I am here and doing both of these programs for a reason. I have a passion for both, there are ways to combine them, they compliment each other. I believe in myself and my abilities that I can successfully achieve both degrees and move into a career that is not only successful but fulfilling, one that I can be passionate about.
As a result I did end up emailing the company and telling them after consideration I am withdrawing myself from consideration for an internship…and I thought that was it. Chance over…but it was what I had to do for myself. This afternoon it was beautiful out so I went to Antrim Park to enjoy the weather. When I got back home there was a voicemail from the company, which I promptly returned. I was told by the recruiter that they were still very interested, my decision deeply respected and the lines of communication will be very opened and they hope to be looking at me again for an internship next year.
What did I learn today? It pays to follow what you believe in. Things may seem more challenging and you may question yourself, but ultimately you have trust and have faith that you are doing the right thing and it will work out. I have a smile on my face today and next time something like this happens…freak out mode will not be my default (my boyfriend and my mom will be so happy…).