Career Fear: how I turned around a summer of cancelled plans

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Being a bit of a control and organisation freak can serve me well in certain situations, but the summer of Covid-19 is definitely not one of them. I had already confirmed my summer plans back in December, only for them to be tossed up in the air and ruined several months later. While I am completely of the opinion that I should remain positive, seeing as all of my family and friends are healthy, I still cannot help but feel a bit stressed and disappointed. 

‘I had already confirmed my summer plans back in December, only for them to be tossed up in the air and ruined several months later.’

I am still not completely sure of my future career goals and was banking on this summer for a penultimate year internship to set me on a path I would enjoy. For a bit of background information, I am British but grew up in Luxembourg, meaning I have both nationalities and speak four languages fluently. Last December I became obsessed with the idea of an internship in a Luxembourgish Embassy somewhere across the world. I sent off my application to any email address I could find and ended up getting accepted by the Embassy in Washington DC. Working alongside the Luxembourgish Ambassador to the USA during the presidential elections would have been a dream come true, until I got the email that all overseas internships by the Luxembourgish government were cancelled. While it wasn’t really a surprise, I was still disappointed. I had moved back to my family home in Luxembourg, and had no way of getting back to Durham, so was facing the fear of spending the next six months alone in my room. 

Although having no distractions was nice for my exams, as soon as they were finished, the prospect of not having a job or any work experience lined up for the summer was starting to get scary. Then out of the blue, an internship I had applied for back in January cropped up again. I got my hopes up, had an interview, and then proceeded to get rejected – so back to square one. At this point, I accepted the fact that I would find no work this summer and decided to make the most of living in the EU. Borders opened up again in June and I have been visiting some friends who study in Amsterdam and Vienna. Despite the constant fear that the borders will close again and I will be stuck here, I have accept that this situation will be around for a while and you simply cannot live in that kind of nervousness and fear. Thankfully alongside this though, I have managed to bag a five-week waitressing job. Obviously earning some money will be great but the biggest positive in my eyes is simply having something to get up for in the morning. 

‘I accepted the fact that I would find no work this summer and decided to make the most of living in the EU.’

If your internship has been cancelled like mine but you were not able to find a job to replace it, then I would definitely recommend looking at some online courses to do over the summer: Harvard has some really nice ones. I am currently taking their ‘Justice and Moral Philosophy’ course and it is a really interesting way to stimulate your brain and organise your day around something. Also, I volunteered quite a lot at the beginning of quarantine in my village and would definitely urge you to look at local volunteering options. All in all, as long as you are staying happy and healthy you are doing something right and remember that all students are in the same boat, floating around in a sea of uncertainty.

Image: Catherine Lavery via Unsplash

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