How An Internship Led Me To Rekindle My Passion And Pursue My Dreams Again—But Not In The Way You Think

How An Internship Led Me To Rekindle My Passion And Pursue My Dreams Again—But Not In The Way You Think

Sometimes you just gotta listen to your gut.

TL;DR: I took a great internship that just felt wrong, and it led me to where I am now.

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One word I would use to describe an internship I took right before my senior year of college would, unfortunately, be miserable. Not because it had a toxic work environment or an impossible workload, but because the entire time I was there, my gut was saying that I didn’t belong there, doing what I had to.

Writing was always in the cards for me. There was never any doubt, until college did what it does best and made me question everything about myself, my career path, and my dreams and compare myself to others. I strayed away from that dream for a bit, still attached to it but not letting myself be boxed into that one ideal. And trying new things worked out! But instead of finding fulfillment in trying something new, I willingly set myself back on the writing path, armed with newfound knowledge and drive.

For more context, when I started my internship hunt for a required practicum course, no publication was replying or accepting writing interns, and time was running out on me following the course timeline. So I took an internship adjacent to what I wanted, under the reassurance that even if it wasn’t perfect, I’d still learn a thing or two. And I did. I learned that I could never live with myself if I spend most of my time at a job that I didn’t like doing—or at a job that just wasn’t enough.


Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t a bad internship. In fact, it was actually a fantastic opportunity. I was thrust into a world that I wanted to be involved in and got the chance to learn from experts and exercise my own creativity. The workload wasn’t crazy heavy and our supervisors, understanding and kind, guided me all throughout the process. It was a good experience, but I found that I was still unhappy.

We were required in our practicum course to keep a weekly journal for the entirety of our time interning. An eyeroll of a requirement, but as I read through each stream-of-consciousness entry (which was mostly a back and forth of me saying it was a great learning experience but I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do), it clarified a few things.

My misery, again, wasn’t due to the workload or the environment. It was because I just felt in my gut that something was off. The work I was doing wasn’t fulfilling. I was supposed to be doing something else. I didn’t like what I was doing, and I can’t live my life doing something that doesn’t feel like it aligns with my purpose.


Despite my desire for a writing internship, for almost my entire stay at college, there was a continuous, tempestuous battle roaring within me. I talked about it in my essays, in my oral exams, in discussion boards and school organization interviews. Was the career path I was dead-set on pursuing since I was a kid actually right for me? Because it seems like everything was conspiring against me. My work wasn’t getting out into the world, my confidence took a hit when my application was turned down by a university publication, and I felt like my writing was trash.

So I put it off. I don’t think about my career or life after college, just picking and choosing classes, orgs, and projects that I think I’ll enjoy. I thought okay, if writing isn’t for me, what else is there? And thankfully I did find joy in some of the work I did, from managing social media content to executing promotional campaigns. That’s where I got the confidence to take an internship—one that didn’t require me to write what I wanted. Because how well did writing work out, anyway?

But I found that the work I was required to do full-time in a corporate setting was a different experience from just having fun with it for college orgs. In orgs, I didn’t have to do it all day, every day, for weeks. There were warning bells in my head and a craving for more that I couldn’t satiate.


Once I officially started senior year, I once again put all career plans on the back burner, instead choosing to make the most of my last year in university and focus on my classes, my friends, and my thesis. But things were far clearer in my head: I can’t leave college only to get a job that makes me dread waking up in the morning (more than usual).

So I pivoted, redirecting myself towards a path I had strayed away from, surer now that that was what I wanted. Some time before graduation, I doubled down on my research on potential companies and publications, positions, openings, and the like. If there was just a hint of that doesn’t feel right for me, whether it’s because I’d be onsite too frequently or because the job description required too much of me, I’d scrap it. I’m never satisfied, anyway, so why settle?


Thankfully, though, I found something that just felt right, and I said screw it—it’s worth a shot. It’s worth trying out. One of my professors had told us that some things you just have to see and live through to figure out if it’s what will fulfill you. So there I was, armed with a determination to pursue what I always wanted to, my ambition now stronger than my self-doubt, choosing to see where this goes.

And I felt good about making the decision. I still feel good about it, though I know there will always be doubt. There will always be things that change, and there will always be non-negotiables that could make someone leave a dream job. One day, maybe my gut will tell me that this is no longer where I should be.

But for now, this is where I belong. Had I not tried something new, even if it wasn’t ideal, perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten the push I needed to get here. I can only hope to carry that openness with me always.

Continue Reading: Which Is Better For You: School Organizations or Internships?