Be Ready for the Curve

I love sports analogies. Actually, I tend to view much of life through the filter of the playing field, the rink, the track, or the court. Weird, I know — but it’s how my brain works.

That said, let’s consider the batter. If he’s at the plate, sitting on a fastball, he’s got a decent shot of ripping the next pitch … or of being embarrassed by a slider or slow curve. Better off is the hitter who has studied the pitcher he faces, knows each of his offerings, and is prepared for whatever pitch is forthcoming.

I believe this lesson also applies to the collegian preparing to seek an internship, or even several internships during the course of several semesters. Sitting back and thinking, “I know exactly what I want to do when I graduate, so therefore I know exactly what type of internship I want” is risky … at best. Aside from lessening a student’s chances of actually securing a position as an intern, this perspective shuts the door on many potentially excellent opportunities.

And I’m talking not only about opportunities that provide invaluable lessons, but also those that might lead to future employment. The student who lets an internship like this slip by is like the batter who fails to swing at a fat, hanging curve … because he was waiting for a fastball.

My advice to a college student considering internship options is to at least give consideration to any internship that’s connected to your general field of study and would allow you to utilize some of your talents (whether natural or acquired in the classroom). If you’re an English major, an internship in nuclear physics is probably too much of a stretch, but the point is that you don’t want to eliminate anything with potential simply because it doesn’t seem to be EXACTLY what you’re looking for.  It’s amazing how many young people I’ve seen who’ve taken a chance with an internship and ended up finding something that they are fascinated with and truly enjoy.

Putting it in the simplest possible terms, go ahead and look for the fastball … but be ready to swing at a curve.

# # #