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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: The trials and errors of a summer internship search

DTH Photo Illustration. UNC first-year Sarah Threewits poses frustrated in front of a laptop stuck on a loading screen on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.

Like many students right now, I’m in the process of trying to find a summer internship.

It’s exhausting.

I’ve applied to more than 10 different internships with no success.

Meanwhile, every time I look at LinkedIn, it seems like one of my peers has found an internship at a well-known company.

It’s exhausting.

Every day, sometimes twice a day, I look at what new internships have been posted.

The process of looking for an internship is debilitating. You think you’ve found an internship that perfectly matches you. You get your hopes up and apply, thinking this is going to be the one that ends your search.

The one that will let you post on LinkedIn and feel good about yourself.

And then you get the email.

“We regret to inform you…”

Great. Another rejection.

It’s exhausting.

No matter how hard you try to find that perfect internship, or even one that vaguely matches your interests and your major, you’re unable to find one. You search every website – Indeed, LinkedIn, Handshake, whatever it may be — and you just can’t find one you like.

You start to think your search is hopeless. Day after day you think to yourself, “When will I be able to make my plans for the summer?”

Your friends are talking about going on a cruise this summer, which would be perfect for you if you weren’t in desperate need of experience for a job after college.

On top of that, you can’t afford the cruise because last summer you had an unpaid internship, and for the past few months, you’ve wasted money on going out and unnecessary late-night food trips.

You turn to emailing companies with your cover letter, resume and portfolio, hoping they might need summer interns.

Guess what? They don’t.

You stay up late at night thinking about what else you could possibly do to find an internship besides begging companies to give you an opportunity, and your mind goes blank.

There’s no hope for finding an internship.

It’s a draining process, and you’re wasting away whatever happiness you have left in the tank because you just want money.

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All you want is experience, and most of all, you just want a job after college so you don’t go broke and have to live at home and be another example of how (insert major here) is a dying industry.

You’re exhausted.

You need your lucky break, and for whatever reason, no matter how hard you look and no matter how hard you beg, nothing works.

You start to micro-examine yourself and your flaws, trying to figure out why these companies don’t want you to the point that you’ve unwound yourself and are going through an existential crisis.

Whoever is reading this and thinking that I’m talking about you, I promise that you’re not alone and, eventually, you’re going to find that perfect internship opportunity. It just hasn’t been posted yet.

You’re going to be able to get past all those rejection emails and finally get one that reads:

“Congratulations! We’re pleased to offer you an internship this summer at (insert company name).”

Exhilaration will fill your body as you type out the traditional, “I’m pleased to announce,” announcement on LinkedIn, flexing your accomplishment to anybody who’s forced to see it.

And after you hit post, you’re no longer exhausted as any feelings of self-doubt, self-hate or self-loathing exit your body.

I wish I knew how that felt.