Calm career uncertainties by taking that intern leap

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EL PASO, Texas — This past summer, I forced myself to be more involved with extracurricular activities that would build my resume. Naturally, the best and most productive thing I could do during the summer, aside from working, was to get an internship.

Personally, the hardest part about finding an internship was finding out who I was. I didn’t want to commit myself wholeheartedly to an organization if my interests changed in my habitually fickle manner – from general communication studies, to creative writing, to digital media production, to multimedia journalism, to wanting to write for a music magazine.

It’s hard to be motivated to do something if you’re not even sure if that is what you love most.  And how do you gauge passion and devotion anyway? How does one know when they have found their calling? What if I don’t want to do just one thing?

These are questions I dissected compulsively, exhausting every answer possible. Unfortunately, my many questions and forced answers haven’t yet lead to clarity, and my crisis was further fuelled by doubt what kind of internship would be best for me.  I still have doubt about my interests, doubt about a suitable career path.

At the beginning of the summer, I was looking at a few different options: music, journalism, and public relations (in that order). After agonizing over a decision I could just not force myself to make, I impulsively jumped into an internship at Sonic Ranch recording studios that had been offered to me earlier on in the year.

I was sick of scrutinizing options and solutions and finally dove head first into my true love: music. This turned out to be the best gut-feeling impulse I’ve ever had. Choosing an internship in the music business almost felt like I was being disloyal to my other beloved options: interning at a PR office, interning at a radio station, and my writing. I now realize that choosing one option does not mean sacrificing the rest, it just means working harder to keep what you love.

But once I actually jumped into the work, an overwhelming sense of relief and certainty smothered me. Interning at a recording studio was definitely difficult, considering I had no prior experience with the music industry, and there were plenty of moments where quitting seemed like the most logical option.

I ended up committing and taking on the challenge in front of me.  And I am now stronger and smarter because of it.

I was faced with my two biggest borders of my life:

1. Getting through my first internship alive

2. Facing my doubts and expectations for the future.

Eventually, I got the hang of things at the Ranch, and everybody was more than helpful when I couldn’t figure something out. At first, I was assigned very basic tasks and instructed on how to properly wind expensive cables without damaging them, but as time progressed alongside my knowledge, I was finally trusted with artist relations. This basically entailed emailing bands and facilitating their recording sessions in any way. I would also drive them to El Paso (from Tornillo where the studio is located) and take them out to restaurants, meanwhile building a relationship with the musicians.

But my issues followed me home. They followed me everywhere. The internship forced me to face myself and to fight my demons, which inevitably led to a more secure sense of my identity and direction in life.

The truth is, months later, I’m still trying to find missing pieces of my identity. I still am not entirely sure what exact career path to follow much less where to even fully begin. What I do know is that without this internship, I would have never even started trying to look for myself, and at least now I know that it is possible to have a career in what I love: music. It is encouraging to think of my countless opportunities and that I may be able to combine that love with other career interests in public relations, writing and even English literature, and maybe even music journalism.

I have begun to love myself more, and I am living proof that music inspires hope, whether it is in the workplace, or listening to it in my bedroom while staring at the ceiling. I finally feel like I have direction, and it is all thanks to Sonic Ranch. Sometimes, we just have to take that daunting leap.

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  1. Great article on the doubts we all have concerning the future and how the uncertainty is so overwhelming. I know I have also been there before. You know I believe I actually have you for a class this semester.

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