Note: I am in love with my internship. It’s my dream job. It’s the best career boost yet. But this needs to be said for me and for you.
Everything in college is either one path or another: love or career. There’s no happy medium unless you’ve figured out the key to life’s purpose: the assumed purpose of having it all, perfectly juggling it all, ultimate happiness. The continuous smile spread across your flawless face that shimmers like the stars in the always-clear sky.
So when you’re stuck at the fork in the road, where you can talk yourself into success on either one, remember there’s compromise. There’s always compromise… maybe not now, but later into the future. That future you cannot predict. Planning can smooth wrinkles on your puzzled face and impressive notches on your resume can substitute tar in cracks to the road. It all can be lined up with one-inch margins, size 10 Times font, and a crisp water-marked ivory paper you slide into glossy folders and align behind a cover letter explaining your love for children, passion for the industry, and clear goal of being big someday. It’s all there in black and white and you’re confident. You worked for this future, you chose the career path, you had your chance to choose. You chose.
But when you choose it, don’t forget your heart. The heart you’ve probably ignored for the past two years and figured the aches inside were just from stress. The stress that came from sleepless nights of studying, the events that have to be perfect, the forms that needed to be completed yesterday, the people who count on you, your talent, your passion for the industry, and finally, the stress from your mother calling to make sure you’ve eaten lunch today. Even then you lie to save time and say, “Of course I’ve eaten,” when you haven’t stepped away from your computer since seven this morning. You get by from the vending machine down the hall and even though the Cheese-Its aren’t satisfying your hunger, you count the calories and carbs and call it good enough.
Then when your phone rings halfway through your copy-editing shift, you silence it and figure he’ll understand… and anyway, he’s not as busy as you are. You have expectations, deadlines, and a paper to put out. You’ll talk to him later, maybe tomorrow’s best. Silently you question your chosen path: the career path. A shrug of your shoulders is what soothes your nerves and puts you back on the fast track to your future and the newsprint in front of your dry eyes. This is a choice.
This was my choice.
It’s been a good choice. I mean I’m living in New York City, the capital of the publishing world, the Big Apple, and have my dream job (granted it’s an internship), but it’s exactly what I’ve worked for. You don’t get into publishing unless you are willing to live in New York City. Plain and simple, it’s like a silent law of the land. I always wanted the top job, the top responsibility, to be on the top of the world. “Rely on no one but yourself” was my college philosophy. It still was my philosophy up to two weeks ago when I was sitting in my cubicle, editing my first manuscript as a professional in the industry I only dreamed about for years. It was my top moment yet in my life. I was on top of the world. My smile reached out to my dimples; the dimples that only peek when I’m truly happy. I swiveled around in my tall-back chair and no one was there. No one to hug in celebration, no one to fist pump like a fan of the Jets, not even someone to meet for a drink after work. That one person I call after something big happens was miles and miles and states and states away. And that person, my person, isn’t male because I chose long ago. I chose men create drama, heartbreak, and bumps in the road, my road. I chose the career path, ignoring my one true passion in life, my one thing I’ve been completely confident about my entire 23 years of life: having a family. Then, I realized I forgot my heart.
And honestly, I can assume it’s back in Iowa, packed away in the tubs that sit in my mother’s basement, under my pictures from sophomore year, and resume folders. It’s probably in the one I packed up the summer before my junior year and sent home with mom to be stored along with party beads, pictures of my ex, and Uno Attack. It’s probably around the time I lost all faith in finding someone to share my life with, the time when I stood hands drooped at my sides with a limp white flag in my hand at that fork in the road, choosing.
So choose. Just remember: both roads will give you success… but don’t forget your heart.