Snow, clouds and a perpetually hiding sun welcomed me back to Cornell about a month ago. The grim look of campus should have served as a warning as I looked out the bus window patiently waiting to clamber out. It had been a nearly eight-hour bus ride coming from Bethesda, Md. and I could not wait to take my first step onto Cornell’s typically beautiful, yet currently dreary, campus. Due to my eagerness to resume my education, I failed to heed the warning of the ominous weather, and like the sun I should have ran and hid behind the clouds.
I went to sleep unknowing of the horrors that lay before me. The next day I woke to the unbearable sound of my roommate’s alarm clock going off, and I noticed that I had a text from my mother. It read, “Deon, I forgot to tell you to begin looking for summer internship opportunities!” The horror had begun. Not unlike the typical Cornellian, I began to, for lack of a better phrase, freak out. A multitude of thoughts flooded my mind, the majority of them questions such as: What will happen if I can’t find the job I want? Will I still get into law school? If I don’t get into law school will I become homeless? If I’m homeless will my grandma still send me care packages? I’m sure that I probably overreacted, but one thing I knew for sure was that a summer internship could definitely help determine my future.
Over the next few weeks, I didn’t think much about any summer opportunities. I was too busy finding the right classes, buying the right books and sitting next to the right girls. However, once I was settled in, I realized that there was no reason not to begin my search. I initiated my investigation by emailing some lawyers I know, asking them how they took advantage of their summers and if they knew of any opportunities for me. They all emailed me back telling me of their own internships with law firms, attorney generals and even a few politicians. However, they all noted that employers were looking for upperclassmen and were not likely to employ rising sophomores.
I began to create a résumé for myself, which brings us to the present. I am still in the process of fashioning the perfect résumé; you know, the ever elusive, perpetually unobtainable, yet deliciously promising résumé. Any day now I am going to shake off the laziness that seems to permeate the air around me, and I am going to head down to the office of career services and have them help me edit my résumé. Although I have not made it to their offices, I have still been trying to further my cause by attempting to join every club known to mankind. I quickly realized that although I might want to join every club, every club might not want to accept me. I took the initiative to narrow my choices down to the clubs that I have a deep-seated interest in, which are also somewhat related to the field of law. I have decided to try to join the Minority Undergraduate Law Society, the mail center at the Robert Purcell Community Center and The Cornell Daily Sun.
As I stated before, I chose these organizations as a result of both my interests and their relevance to my (hopefully) future profession. MULS is obviously related to law, however one may wonder why I would want to join it. The answer is quite simple. I do not know many other minority students at Cornell and I thought it would be a great idea to meet other minority students interested in the same career path as myself. I applied for the job at the mail center because I felt future employers would be happy to know that I have experience doing secretarial work. My decision to write for The Cornell Daily Sun comes from my old and lasting desire to write for a newspaper; luckily, the ability to write is valued in the field of law, so this is a perfect opportunity for myself.
Throughout my search, one thing has become quickly apparent. There is a perpetuating cycle withholding me from reaching my goal. I began searching for a summer internship, and then realized I needed more experience in order to secure one. This led me to join other organizations. However, the mail center application was focused upon past employment, which I have none of, and I have not heard back from them. I now realize that in order to gain experience, one must first have experience! I now question how I can create the “perfect” résumé if I cannot manage to secure a position worthy of inclusion. I can almost picture myself as a dog running in a circle attempting to catch its own tail.
I am not sure whether or not it is merely a coincidence, but the weather in Ithaca has managed to represent my summer search. Although the sun has come out of hiding, it has still managed to remain fairly cold, and although I have began to look for opportunities, my search has been rather cold as well. Hopefully, by the time it warms up here in Ithaca my search will have managed to heat up.
Deon Thomas is a freshman in the School of Industrial Labor Relations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Northern Exposure, a column from the perspectives of alternating members of the Class of 2015, appears alternate Fridays this semester.