Take Those Chances

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019

An internship is an investment into your future, but it is important to not get so caught up in trying to advance or network that you forget the value of small moments, connections, and the importance of mental health.
 
So, when I say take those chances, I am talking about living in the moment and working to build a healthy relationship with yourself. That means intentionally making time to be alone to drown out the noise from work or stress.
 
As someone who just graduated college and is on the threshold of a “real job and responsibilities,” it is scary. I am 65% sure of what I want to do and have 17% of an idea of how to get there. Internships in themselves are hard, especially during the semester. They provide a lot of opportunity, but also bittersweet emotions. It has only been a month and a half since I graduated from A&M. Right now, I feel like I should be in class with my friends, but every day consists of working from 9-5. It has been an adjustment learning so much and trying to maintain my energy levels, but I want to share a couple of moments that gave me the energy I needed even if I didn’t physically have it.
 
On my first day in the city, I was woken up by the sun. I’m never an early bird, but waking up to this was what I needed. Every time I move and leave loved ones, I always have a two-day period of sadness and reflection. It was one of those moments that take your breath away.
 
The next instance of reflection came from a spontaneous trip I took after work. I tagged along with my boss for a meeting at the World Bank, and got off work early. Instead of going home, I decided to explore and ended up walking around the national mall for two hours. At this point in time, the government was still shut down. It is hard to escape the pettiness and inner fighting of politics, but witnessing history and memorials, specifically the MIA memorial for World War II reminded me of a Ronald Reagan quote: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
 
Even with all the turmoil and being in close proximity to it, this moment of clarity helped me to reaffirm the need to stay the course and fight for values, whatever they are, so the next generation may live better than we did.
 
In the short time, I’ve lived on this Earth, I have learned the importance of making space for yourself. The moments that energized me were spent alone. It was a wonderful time to reflect and find some clarity. I am not saying you must always be alone or have to walk in history to feel inspired, but take time to invest in your wellbeing, especially when you’re in a new city and interning for the first time.
 
I am entering week three of my 17-week internship. There is still a lot to learn, mistakes to be made, but regardless of what happens, I am a firm believer in not losing yourself to the rat race. You need time for family, friends, but most importantly ­- yourself.

Jena Seidemann
Global Cold Chain Alliance
Washington, D.C. | spring 2019