Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
It’s June, which means another school year is coming to a close. Advanced Placement tests have been administered, final projects are being rushed into completion, graduation caps are ready to be decorated. Summer is right on the horizon; beach days, vacations, or sitting inside playing video games for hours on end are all within reach. In the months leading up, many sophomores and juniors can be found searching for summer jobs and internships to offset those activities.
“I applied to a lot of internships, but because of some complications with getting recommendation letters in on time, I was not able to get the top one I wanted,” said Esther, a junior at Torrey Pines High School. “But I did end up with one in the science field which I am pretty content with.”
Vlada, also a TPHS junior, has had a different experience. After applying for a slew of paying jobs before last summer and receiving no bids, she is already in the search for the second time, with no success yet.
“I keep sending applications to people and at this point I know I’m not going to get anything,” Vlada said. “It’s just the way the internet works, I guess. I didn’t think they would, but I was just hoping they would.”
Vlada said that rather than searching for unpaid internships, she and her friends are more focused on paid employment so that they can earn money for themselves.
“ I don’t want to rely on my parents for money. If you rely on your parents for money, then they’re going to keep harassing you and asking you why you’re spending so much,” Vlada said. “But if I have my income and my own car, it’s kind of like living independently in a way and I can learn how to actually manage my own money.”
Vlada and Esther agreed that the students that they know who are employed or are looking for work come from all types of socioeconomic backgrounds, and that many seem intrinsically motivated.
On the internship side, things are more competitive.
“People are very secretive about what they do,” Esther said. “I have a couple friends who are doing lab internships or have jobs but they wouldn’t tell anyone they were doing it until the admissions process was over and they actually had it because they were scared that other people would apply to the same things as them and steal their spot.”
Esther added that a big part of securing top internships is having connections through siblings or parents, which leads to students like her being at a disadvantage. That aside, Choi did say that she was lucky to have gotten anything at all, as some of her friends were left empty handed.
Even with an internship for Esther, and hopefully a job for Vlada, the two said that they look forward to relaxing and spending time with friends and family this summer, and that they are simply looking to add a bit of structure to their no longer school-and-homework-filled days.