The value of experience: Where do your priorities lie?

Elise Deschamps decided to dedicate her time over the summer to growing her thrifting business, Le Marche Du Soleil, instead of getting an internship.
(Photos courtesy of: Elise Deschamps)
Elise Deschamps decided to dedicate her time over the summer to growing her thrifting business, Le Marche Du Soleil, instead of getting an internship. (Photos courtesy of: Elise Deschamps)

Maybe you got an internship after your first year of college, eager to get additional lines of experience to add to your resume. Or maybe you’re like me and have been putting off those summer internships, leaning more towards school-free days of warmth where you get to choose how to spend your time. 

There’s no doubt that there is value to getting an internship. Whether you have a positive or negative experience, you are likely to gain valuable insight to the real-life professional world. 

However, experience doesn’t have to just come in the form of a five to 12 week summer program. It all boils down to your intentionality and your priorities in life.

It is important to note that I’m not trying to discourage you from pursuing internships with this article. I am not telling you to spend your summers job-less and completely free of any sort of responsibility or duty. I am also not trying to convince you that by getting an internship, you are wasting your time or missing out on something. Even further, I’m not saying that having an internship and having fun are mutually exclusive. What I am trying to say to you is that it is okay if your priorities look different than what might be expected of you.

I feel a certain level of guilt, and maybe even shame, regarding my lack of desire to put the energy into finding and pursuing an internship. Am I being lazy? Am I simply not driven enough? Am I wasting my time by pursuing anything else?

The thing is, if you are actually spending the time to pursue the things and experiences that truly matter to you, are you really being lazy? Or, do you just have a differing perspective and a different order of priorities than the people around you?

For example, it’s not likely that you will find me sacrificing rest in order to stay up late to study. Personally, I prioritize my eight hours of sleep over a letter-grade higher on a test. From the outside looking in, someone who values straight-A’s over their sleep schedule might think I’m less dedicated to my education. In reality, it’s all just a matter of perspective and the way people  organize their priorities. Again, not that straight-As and a good sleep schedule are mutually exclusive, but let’s be honest: How many college students get eight hours of sleep in a night? 

For me, I would rather have the experience of summers with mornings full of surfing and afternoons spent building my small business. I know how intentional I am with my time, and I am reminded and encouraged by those closest to me that although my path feels different, I am hardworking and self-motivated. 

I have learned that I work most creatively and efficiently when I have freedom over my work hours. Working in this way, I have seen certain doors of experience close just for other doors to open. At the same time, I recognize that for others, having more structure and set hours allows them to work more efficiently. Once again, it ultimately boils down to the individual. 

Ask yourself about the things that leave you feeling truly fulfilled. Can you recall the last time that you walked away from class feeling energized by the last concept you learned? How much of your motivation comes from what is expected of you from others? What things have you prioritized over your core values? How have you prioritized your work, school and personal life? In what ways are you proud of yourself, and in what ways could you grow?

Share this story!

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Reply