Defining the Slump
The day I am writing this article is the day that I had my first interview for an internship. The day I am writing this article is the day I had a summer meeting for a club that I am an officer for. The day I am writing this article is the day that I truly sat myself down and thought to myself, the summer is almost over, and I have no idea what I am doing with my life. Yes, it is quite melodramatic and cliche for a seventeen year old high school senior like me to say, but I don’t think any other group of words could sum up what most high school seniors feel the summer before consecutive months of worry lines and sleepless nights.
Recognizing the Slump
I woke up this morning earlier and more alert than most. Today was a big day for me and it required a different mindset than most of my summer morning yawns. I needed my mind focused on current events, political awareness, my future endeavors - this list could go on about what I thought the people at the internship I was getting interviewed for wanted to hear. I should have realized sooner that my own personal interests and qualities are the main reason why I would get hired as an intern in the first place.
Before going to the interview, I met up with my fellow club officers at our high school to discuss possible events and opportunities for our club this school year. Our discussion quickly took a different turn, and soon enough we were discussing our worries and stresses about newly released AP test scores, last minute SAT testing, and of course, the he-who-shall-not-be-named of incoming high school seniors. College applications. I didn’t realize, that until that moment when I heard my classmates spill out their college related confessions, that time was not slowing down. In other words, I needed to get my act together, and fast.
Attacking the Slump
On my way back home from the meeting and getting ready for my interview at 12:20 PM, my mind was juggling between the “could be’s” and the “what if’s”. What if I don’t improve my SAT score by the time applications roll around? Could I actually get into a good college with my mediocre transcript? Instead of coming to my senses that moment when I was stressing out, it is only dawning upon me while I am writing this article that instead of thinking, I should be doing. I have my fair share of regrets and I have always thought about doing something I will not regret, but when will the time come when I actually do it? If you’re reading this, you probably find yourself in a slump, feeling regretful, but not actually doing something about it. This new and last school year is not even starting yet, but the weight of responsibilities and worries are already bringing us down. What we need to do is stop concerning ourselves with the “if’s” and “but’s” of our worries, and start focusing our mindsets on kicking our senior year in the butt - in the best way possible.
No, I don’t mean the exercise where you sit still and let small chants run out of your mouth, but hey you could do that too if you want. By meditating, I mean do whatever you can to not stress (yet). The first thing you should do before taking on the grind of getting out of this slump is to take a significant amount of time to relax and not worry. Let your mind think thoughtfully, and not angrily, on your mistakes you might have made in the past school years. Reminisce on the enjoyable moments, but recognize your regrets. The first step of tackling a problem is finding and recognizing the root of it.
Although you may be hard on yourself for your mistakes, take this time to also think about any dreams or wishes you have always had. I am a firm believer of second chances and the ‘it’s never too late’ mentality. Have any long or short term goals in your mind? Never lose sight of them and write them down, you could seize the day at any moment. Taking this time to recognize and organize all your thoughts will make it easier once you actually start doing something about them.
Now that you have mentally assorted all the things you have been meaning and wanting to do, it’s time to get those phalanges and femurs moving. Get excited! This next step is the part that requires the most optimism, patience, but most of all open mindedness and fun. Bust out your computer, or any other device that gives you access to Google, and your favorite snacks, because the next amount of hours or days will be your creative research period.
After establishing your mistakes and goals, you need to find a way to tackle them. Need to retake a science class? Find out if your school offers summer courses, or if you can find a college nearby that allows you to take a class for credit. Want to start finding out different career paths? Research related volunteer work that fits your ideal job, or any internship opportunities nearby. Use this time to actually start taking action on what you want to do with your life. The great thing about this step is that it does not even have to be boring or impulsive. Let your creativity flow during this research period and really focus on finding what screams at you and makes you want to drop everything and do it at that moment.
So you figured out you want to stop being lazy and found some stuff that actually interests you. Now what? After narrowing down your options and choices, here comes the hard part. It is time to actually do it. Interviews, workshops, and applications may be rolling like an avalanche towards you, and it may be stressful and take a toll on your brain. You need to readjust your mindset out of summer lazy mode, and flip the switch to summer productive mode. The key words to this step are practice makes better, not perfect. This is the time for you to get better.
Get better at presenting yourself, get better at a certain field of study, get better at a particular hobby or interest. There is no need to be perfect at anything yet, because that will come later. The point of getting out of this slump during the summer is to improve and prepare you for the school year, when the even harder parts make an appearance. Perfect is an overrated term and state of being in the first place, and overrated is definitely boring. Remember what I said earlier? This is a time to have fun and be creative, there is no room for being boring.
Congratulations! You don’t have everything figured out yet, but you are one step ahead of accomplishing what you initially set your mind on doing. This last step is even vaguer than the previous ones. After focusing your time on isolating your problems and goals, to celebrate may mean differently to each person. You could celebrate by actually throwing a party and using the summer’s heat and your swimming pool to practical use. Or celebrating may mean landing the job or internship you wanted, and actually enjoying yourself doing something new and exciting.
This is the time to do things for yourself, because once August or September rolls around, school will be creeping up on you again. Whichever way of celebrating you take on, you should be proud of yourself for stepping up to the plate, and batting out your problems or goals that have always been following you around. It takes one to talk about their dreams, but it takes an even greater one to do something about them.
During the Slump, and Afterwards
Some of you may be wondering, what happened with that internship? Even if you are not that curious, I will tell you anyways because it is a prime example of the steps I just listed to you. I found out about the internship through one of my closest friends, and it only took a matter of two days to research, apply, and take on my worst fear - getting interviewed. I spent the past two days researching about the internship position and the campaign I was hoping to work for. I had practically all of my older cousins review my resume and do trial interviews with me. I had the general information about this campaign down, and I knew my resume was at its best presentation, even if the only other time I actually touched it was freshman year in our required business class.
Whilst driving in the car to my interview, I already knew I wouldn’t arrive at the recommended time of 15 minutes prior. Additionally, I forgot my cover letter and I wore heels that I could barely walk in. I parked in the parking lot of the campaign headquarters by 12:18, and I walked through the glass doors by 12:20. The office was pretty barren, with groups of desks in one corner and campaign posters in the other. The people were dressed casually, and my internship coordinator could pass as my sister. I was standing in the middle of the open office in a thick black blazer and uncomfortable heels. I could tell you how the interview went, and how I felt afterwards. But I could also tell you that the day I’m writing this paragraph is the day after my interview. The day I’m writing this paragraph is the day I started my internship. The day I’m writing this paragraph is the day my boss recognized me for my superb phone duties, and how I went over the average number of phone calls on my first day (which is a pretty big deal). I wore jeans to the internship today and ate pizza while making survey phone calls. I defined the Slump, but am still yet to conquering it. Cheers, anyone?
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