Searching for internships can be stressful. Not only are you competing with every college student in the country, but also you’re competing against yourself. College age kids, more affectionately referred to as “millennials” are looking for internships that not only make their resume better than their classmates, but also lets them make a difference as opposed to making copies. For some, making copies at a high end accounting firm, or fetching coffee at multi-million dollar tech company is fine, as long as they can put it on their resume and fake it in their next interview about what they truly did all summer. But for others, the ability to take ownership of a project, to look back on a summer and say, “I can’t believe I did that!”, is more important than working for a fortune 500 company.
For me, I knew going in I didn’t want to wear a suit to work everyday. I didn’t want a 9-5 job where I knew I would be watching the clock all day. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to have fun doing it. After countless Google searches, one job stood out to me, Camp Counselor. Being from the Midwest I didn’t go to camp. No one did. So I applied, what did I have to lose?
Believe me, I was skeptical. but the beauty of interning at camp is that I got to make my own experience. When I was interviewing I let them know that I was looking for college credit and some sort of administration experience, being a business major. I was offered a role as part-time counselor, part-time programming assistant. The title itself did not express what I was doing all summer by any means. My time in the office allowed me to see the business side of camping and the industry as a whole. It opened my eyes to what it truly takes to run a top-tier summer camp. If there was a job to be done at camp I did it. Data entries, inventory, making sure program areas had supplies and were able to run efficiently. Heck I even fixed a few doors and put tables together.
Then the kids arrived…
500 kids, all at once, and at that moment, camp became real to me. Apart from my responsibilities in the office I now had 10 kids that I had to take care of for 7 weeks. This is the part of my internship where I could really make a difference. Essentially, I was a parent for the summer, and that really intimidated me. I was still in school; I just got used to taking care of myself and now I need to care for a group of 9-year-old boys. But I quickly learned that although they were young, they were smart, self-sufficient, and ended up teaching me more than I could ever teach them.
My summer internship was unlike anyone I graduated with. I worked alongside the President and CEO’s of the company. I was a co-worker with 200 people from over 10 countries. I created excel documents by day and sang “Let It Go” as loud as I could by night. It wasn’t easy but I had the time of my life. I made a difference, and left my footprint. Most importantly, I walked away from the summer saying, “I can’t believe I did that”, and you can’t get that feeling making copies.