Flan is delicious.
But that’s not what this is about.
I know. I know, friends. It’s time to talk about that thing which gives college students anxiety and is eerily similar to applying to college all over again — SUMMER INTERNSHIPS!!!
There is no real reason why a dog with a party hat and a tennis ball is in this post. Think of it as a happy mood stabilizer to counteract all the rejection letters and feelings of inadequacy that wash over you like caffeine rushes during Finals Week.
So I’m the bones girl, right? And if you’re thinking something like, “Wow, I wonder what Konnie is doing this summer. I mean, it’s not like she can go digging for Neanderthals fossils all willy nilly-like,” you are one hundred precent correct! Alas, I am but a lowly undergraduate, a tiny baby in the professional world who has no experience and desperately needs guidance. I’m not a newborn sea turtle that knows it needs to hurry into the sea or risk predation by water birds. Compared to most of the animal kingdom, human babies are completely helpless and rely on their parents for protection. Baby undergraduates rely on advisors and, by extension, the internet for guidance.
As of today (March 3rd, 2014), I have no set plans for this upcoming summer. I’m still in the process of figuring a lot of things out. Museum internships, while incredible, are intensely competitive and are very few and far between. My biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and neuroscience friends are all scrambling to find lab work, research work, anything that’ll put get their foot in the door in their chosen path. Once again, I feel like I should be doing something. Possible in a lab, maybe? But. Though I’m a biology major (and I love it), my primary interest lies in paleoanthropology, a wonderful interdisciplinary cornucopia of ideas and interests and none of which an undergrad can professional touch unless they’ve had a few years of experience. So, unlike my friends all rushing for internships, I am applying to field schools.
“What’s a field school?” one of my friends asked me recently.
Admittedly, at the time, I probably gave a weak response like, “Well, it’s like school but, you know, outside. Like, in a field.” Terrible, terrible me. I’m so sorry, friend to whom I did this to. Field schools are how undergraduate anthropology and archaeology majors get their foot in the door professionally. For a few weeks at a time, researchers all over the world take on students to help them at excavation sites. Students get a very hands on experience of what it’s like to work outside all die, all the menial, physical work of archaeology. Usually, there is also a lab component involved, but instead of fretting about molecules and protein pathways, anthropology and archaeology labs are usually used as collection spaces for artifacts and where the artifacts are washed and sorted.
That’s right, my friends. For several weeks, you too can be up to your knees in dirty, slaving away all day in the hot sun, camping out in the wildernesses of Oregon or Idaho or even digging up President Washington’s estate in the pursuit of history. To me, it sounds like physical hard work — digging isn’t all fun in the sand, friends — but also incredible because it’s the first taste of what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.
One problem, though: $$$$$$$$
As in I don’t have the $$$$$$$$ required for admission to many of these field schools, good lord. Most of the field schools I’ve researched so far sound incredible but I cannot, I cannot afford any of them and I’m so disheartened, so overwhelmed. Paying for these field schools is one thing. But if I go to a field school during the summer, that time could be served making $$$$$$$$$$ to pay my student contribution in the Fall.
So here is my dilemma, readers:
A) Somehow pay for a field school. Attend it. Gain valuable experience. Feel more confident when applying to field schools next year. Do a little happy dance.
B) Don’t attend a field school. Get a paid internship doing something completely irrelevant to my chosen career path. Gain experience in something. Pay my student contribution in the fall. Exhale.
The worst thing is, I’ve found a field school I would love to go to. If I stretch myself, I can even manage to afford it, but then how will I make enough for my student contribution in August? I can’t stretch myself that far.
Why can’t I have a fairy field school godmother? This situation has only become apparent to me today, though I’ve been ruminating about my options since the beginning of this year.
Hold on, I need another picture of a dog in a party hat.
I hope you are having an easier time than I am in planning your summer, friends. Summer is really one of the few glimpses of the “real world” we’re afford before graduation and it can be very… frightening and overwhelming and cold hearted but that’s life, and all those other cliches. I’ll find a way to make it work. We’ll find a way.