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What Happens When You Get the Internship You Wanted, But You Realize It’s Not For You

Tanja Garic in Central Park

By Tanja Garic

Going into the semester, I couldn’t believe my luck. The main reason I wanted to take part in the Newhouse NYC semester was because of one particular PR agency that I felt was the right fit for me. When I got the offer, I couldn’t have been more excited.

But a couple of weeks in, my excitement wore off and panic set in. My dream internship wasn’t really my dream. I was devastated. I never, for a minute, imagined that I would end up thinking that it wasn’t right for me. I expected to love it, and to want to continue doing lifestyle and luxury PR throughout my career. But it didn’t go that way for me.

Unfortunately, I discovered that luxury PR is not something I am passionate about, and the accounts I worked on were not fulfilling. I found the work I was doing for the accounts to be very far removed from the world I live in, and not in my realm of reality.

I thought I would be enjoying myself, but instead I was in full panic mode, convinced that I had made a huge mistake. I was in the midst of an existential crisis. Looking back at it now, I regret wasting that time so panicked and stressed out because I lost valuable time, and in the end, things turned out okay.

Once the panic had subsided, I realized that I hadn’t made a mistake and I was wrong to regret my choices. I was still learning a ton even if my experience wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I knew I had to get over my image of what my experience was supposed to be like, and that proved to be the hardest part. Talking to others that had been through similar situations, as well as those close to me, helped me to let go of that image and realize that everyone’s experiences will be different, and that’s okay. Some people will love the time they spent at their internship, while others will not. It’s completely normal.

If you realize that your internship isn’t the right one, then the best thing to do is to take a step back and reassess what else you like, and what other career paths interest you. The next time you’re looking for an internship, picking a different field that you’re intrigued by might be the best move. It’s also important to realize that it’s okay to not love what you’re doing. Not everyone gets it right on the first try. It takes some people years to figure out what it is they love to do.

The best thing to do is to appreciate that you now know what you don’t want to do. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in the past few months is that knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do like.

Even in the worst experiences, there are still things that you enjoy. Whether it is the clientele, or the size of the company, or the work you’re doing, there has to be something that you like about it. In my case, even though I realized that it wasn’t the right field of PR for me, I loved the people I worked with, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been any better. Being surrounded by people who are so kind and genuine is such a good feeling, and it is something that I am extremely thankful I had. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when everyone around you is so wonderful to be around. It’s a factor that can get easily overlooked, but it can make or break an experience. Be sure to take note of what it is that you like and make sure the next place you go to has it, and take note of what you don’t like and avoid going to a place that has it.

My biggest piece of advice to everyone, whether you love your internship or you realize that it’s simply not for you, is to take the time to appreciate and enjoy your time in New York City. It’s a wonderful place, and there’s so much to enjoy if you just try to appreciate your time there. It goes by so fast, and before you know the semester is over, and you’re leaving New York City.

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