September 16, 2022 | OPINION By Karly Hamilton | Illustration by Sierra Romero

It’s Aug. 28; what should be the last lazy Sunday before starting the fall semester might appear that way. But this Sunday isn’t relaxed, nor is it filled with homework. The reality is something scarier: job applications.

Searching for an internship this past summer was quite the process — I never really learned where to start. Many of the internships I wanted to apply to were for older students, or the deadline had already passed when I started looking. I quickly learned that to have good prospects, one needs to start the application process the summer before the opportunity of interest.

As a first-year student who hadn’t (and still hasn’t) declared a major, I felt lost and confused looking for jobs. How am I supposed to know what my dream job is before deciding what I’m going to study?

Finding opportunities of interest that I was qualified for proved difficult. And with the opportunities I did apply for — which there were dozens, if not hundreds of —  I often never heard back about my application. Others sent an immediate automatic reply that I was no longer being considered for the position because one or more of my characteristics did not match what they were looking for.

I ended my search for an internship with an opportunity that kept me working and learning for the summer. I also learned to start my search earlier this year. Hence, I started looking for opportunities for next summer before completing my internship this year.

As I continue working through my search for next summer — revising my resume, meeting with the Career Center, searching Handshake and LinkedIn, repeat — one thing becomes clear to me: I don’t know how to pick a career before I’ve declared a major.

That said, I’ve always known I have a passion for math. I love numbers and the way things fit together to find a correct and indisputably right answer. This gave me a starting point, but not nearly enough to specifically identify a job of interest.

I appreciate that Colorado College gives students through their sophomore year to declare a major; I think it’s a good way to ensure we get to experience the liberal arts curriculum and take advantage of what the Block Plan has to offer. But a lack of academic direction makes it hard to decide what comes next.

I’m a planner; I always like to know what comes next. The uncertainty surrounding job applications, many of which I know will be rejected, is hard. Add to that a concern about what I want to do with my life and I feel even more lost.

Knowing where to start is hard. I’m hoping I will have a better idea of where to look when I finalize my major and know what’s coming next. As internships seem to be more crucial to the hiring process post-college, I feel like I need to work in a relevant area during my undergraduate summers. I hope a better understanding of my academic journey ahead will give me more clarity. In the meantime, I’m trying to remind myself that this is the time to experiment. If I don’t try something now, when will I have the opportunity down the line?

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