An Intern's Insight
Working full time raises appreciation for school life. There are days for everyone throughout their educational career, from kindergarten to the day they finish their highest form of schooling, where all you can think is, "I cannot wait until I am done with school forever."
I do not blame anyone for these thoughts. I personally have had them numerous times. School seems awful when you are in it. Constant pushing from teachers/professors to get you to pay attention and do well during the day can be irritating and you have what appears to be an endless mound of homework to get done with "no time" in the evenings to do it. It seems to be a horrible situation and no one can wait to move on from it. Students dream of the summertime or their future fantasy jobs as they read their textbooks from cover to cover in late February. When you finish your last test of the year in May or June and head out the classroom door, you feel on top of the world. Finally, I am out of here, I remember fondly thinking.
This summer I landed an internship here at the Star-Observer. I remember how excited I was to get the position. It sounded like a dream. Work here for just eight hours a day doing exactly what I wanted, then go home on the nights and weekends and enjoy worry-free time with friends and family.
It is harder than it sounds.
I will say, I do love this job. The people here are awesome and I love journalism. Getting to hear some really interesting stories from great people and put them on paper is an honor and I thoroughly enjoy doing it every day. But it is work!
Forty hours a week is a lot longer than it sounds when I am sitting at school. It is also a busy 40 hours. I often cringe at the amount of work I have to accomplish each week. It makes my average homework load look like an anthill.
The misconception that you do not have "homework" when you work full time is laughable. It seems as though work will always come home with you, no matter what your occupation. I find myself touching up articles late at night that I cannot fall asleep before correcting, or just thinking of the tasks at hand for the next day. If you work on certain objectives half the time you are awake for five days a week, of course you cannot simply forget about all of it when you punch out each day. Our work is a HUGE part of who we are; there is no way around it. I am grateful I like the job I currently hold and feel terrible for those who do not. As much as I like what I do, I still feel mentally drained at the end of each day, a feeling only known at school when studying for two finals in six hours. Those situations only arise because I always seem to make the fateful mistake of procrastinating until the last possible moment.
School sounds so easy as I sit here and work every day. On my busiest days at college I have maybe four hours of class. Tack on two hours of homework each night and the average of two hours I may put into my position writing for a lacrosse team on a given night last semester and there are the eight hours I serve here each day. Eight hours and the rest of the day actually were all free to relax or hang out with my friends. And like I said, those were my busy days. I had a lot that were less straining where I maybe did half that amount of work. I can think of multiple instances where I was bored at school because I had too much free time. The thought of that now makes me smile. I could use a few days like that.
So bring on the upcoming school year, I look forward to it. I look forward to being done with classes at two each day when I only started at 10. I look forward to finishing my "massive" amount of homework in an hour and a half. I look forward to saying I have no free time, meaning I only have six hours to spare that day. I look forward to getting my usual ten hours of sleep each night. I look forward to scheduling things on the weekend with no fear of work-related issues interfering.
So while my responsibilities at school seem to escalate year-by-year, I still look forward to it, because compared to my small summer slice of real life, it will seem like nothing at all.
To all of you reading this who are working full time year round, you definitely have my respect. I hope to be able to do in the future what you all have already done for so many years.