By Jethel Hernandez, Senior
I am pleased to inform you that I officially MADE IT! I survived the Silver Knight havoc, and now I am back to sooze you and your worries as the next year reminds us that yet another year of high school ( for you lol, I am a senior) must be conquered.
After my article “The Countdown of Senior Year” in the January issue, I read some of your letters to the editor and don't worry I heard you loud and clear. Our next topic is officially: Finding your best fit...the perfect internship.
Juniors, right now internship might seem as just an alluring opportunity to escape the bars of high school a bit earlier: a full 2 hours and something earlier. How wonderful right? You are finally independent; you are that stereotypical New York intern that gets to grab a latte, and ride the metro on the way to some fancy newspaper internship where everything is LOFTY and full of stylish chairs and sofas.UHHHH, WAKE UP. I won't lie, at the beginning internship will be exciting, just like a new book, nevertheless the monotony of public transportation and late afternoons will soon tire you, hence the perfect fit is essential as you will spend a lot of time there and this is a perfect opportunity to test your interests and consider changes, without the pressures of full adulthood and real economic independence.
I believe it is pivotal that I confess my experience, after two years as an intern, for you to understand the importance of this choice. I still remember the first time Ms. Hernandez walked into my Careers class with her polished speech about our new requirement, portraying it as something exciting, yet drowning us with the details of why the place we chose mattered, the importance of proximity and public transportation, contracts… it was overwhelming, but exciting. My junior year, I chose to intern at Jackson Memorial Hospital; I figured that my idea of becoming a surgeon could be tested at a hospital. So far, I had perfectly matched my interests to my first exposition in the labor force. I could see myself working with the patients, assisting in the OR... Here, I began to wake up from my unrealistic expectations. Logically, volunteering as a minor, with no medical experience whatsoever, had many limitations, and my work was merely reduced to administrative duties at the nurse station. I realized after a few months that I needed a more hands-on experience with biology and science, my future major. I knew that for next year, I needed to make a better choice that could match my expectations. This would take some research, constant emailing to potential mentors, but it was more beneficial than accommodating to what the school could offer through their established sites. This is my major advice: don't be afraid of reaching out and finding that perfect mentor, while most emails won't be answered, who knows what exciting opportunity, like for me, could be waiting for you.
However, like I mentioned before, my first experience illuminated me to know what I wanted for my last opportunity at some exposure in science. My senior year internship so far, has been different, for the better: I work with graduate students at the Physics Department of the University of Miami, conducting hands-on research about the impact of sleep deprivation in flies’ brain, to correlate the results to the sleep cycle in humans. All this factual talk, might sound boring, but actually it has been awesome. I learned how to classify flies according to gender, I have learned some coding, and I have experienced every stage of the scientific method: even washing the materials, and preparing the food for the flies. This year, I am always anxious to go to internship and read that new research paper that my mentor assigns, no assignment feels like a burden. It is never boring, I love the atmosphere, walking around the opulent trees and the coffee tables that remind me of Spanish terrazas… my internship is my perfect fit. It took me a whole year to find it and some tedious filling, but I am in love at last...Oh how grateful I am!
Hopefully, after my advice you will ponder a bit more about what you love, your passion, and go find a place where you can speak as loud as you can, where your ideas are nurtured, not silenced...hopefully that place enlightens you daily.
For now, I will await to read your new comments and worries, to guide you along the dreaded decisions to come in your highschool career.
(That ONE Senior who is rooting for you.)