This post basically describes what I’m calling the bubble effect: employment edition. Aka living on campus blinded me to the real-world struggle of:
- appearing intelligent to the average hiring manager and
- convincing anyone, even myself, that I have enough experience to actually perform a job.
Only on Dartmouth’s campus could an 18-year-old with no prior experience get paid $14/hr to work for a computer science lab — if that isn’t the bubble effect, then I don’t know what is.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working for DALI Lab and taking humanities courses and only worrying about where to use my next meal swipe — but the false sense of confidence that the bubble gave me was just that — false, and easily shattered.
When I was waiting to hear back from spring internships, I began to freak out because I had already committed to taking a term off and thought I was doing something insanely interesting this winter and everyone was either going back to campus or headed off to do something insanely interesting and did I really want to live at home for 10 weeks?
It’s quite possible that this (failed) internship search was the first time since I arrived at college that I really wanted to achieve anything.
“What a risk I took!” I say as I sit at home, not paying rent or doing anything except writing considerably mediocre blog posts.
Like I said in a previous post, I have no solutions to the problems I present (at least, no solutions that don’t require an emotional/academic overhaul). However, I did visit campus over the weekend, and I’m feeling hopeful(!) about the future; because on Saturday I sat in a cafe with some friends for 4 hours doing absolutely nothing, and did not feel the desperation/sense of unease/frustration that usual accompanies my inability to be productive. (If you were wondering about my thoughts on productivity, recently I told a friend that he should just burn down the school instead of doing his psets because it would be less stressful and less time-consuming.)
So I leave you all with this bit of early-2018, un-jaded, non-cynical, bit of optimism: things may seem dismal, but they are probably not as bad as your emotional baggage/dashed expectations would lead you to believe.
tl;dr: I’m a mess but at least I can be a mess from the delusional comfort of my own home.