Let’s talk about life. More specifically, life anxiety. I have a ton of it. I think anyone currently in college is familiar with the huge amount of pressure the career center puts on you to have a “Career Related Experience” by the time you graduate. And you only have 3 summers to fit one in!
Let me share a little bit about my own experiences, though not always “Career-Related.” The summer after freshman year, I worked as a camp counselor at the camp I’ve attended since I was 10. I don’t regret this at all.
I finally made a resumé sophomore year. I believe the career center referred to this as “Mile 1.” That spring, I finally started thinking about how I might want to spend my summer. I knew it was time to do something away from camp, but I didn’t know what. And I tend to always choose where I want to be before I decide what I’ll actually be doing there. The two options I had in my mind were both internship opportunities at healthy living magazines. The first one, in San Francisco, was at VegNews. As a vegan at the time, I wanted nothing more than to intern here. Sure, I’d have to find my way out to California and somehow make everything work while only living there for a summer, but I wasn’t thinking too hard about it. The only problem was, they didn’t have any summer internships– only Spring and Fall. As much as I would have loved to spend a semester in SanFran, I had already made plans to go to Paris for the year. And I’m so glad I did!
I turned, therefore, to my second choice– EatingWell magazine based out of Charlotte, Vermont, a 15-minute drive from downtown Burlington. This, I thought, would be perfect. I thought I had all the credentials I would need to work at this magazine that focused on healthy living and vegetarian cooking. I was so confident! And in retrospect, I think I had every right to be. Before I go on, there’s something you should know about me. When I get an idea in my head, it quickly snowballs. So when I decided that I wanted to work at EatingWell for the summer, I immediately set out to find an apartment. After some late nights searching cool apartments on Craigslist, I finally found one that I thought would work for a sublet. I did all the paperwork, and the lease was set in stone. Mind you, though I had already mailed my internship application to EatingWell, I hadn’t heard back from them. They had told me “late April” as the deadline, but at this point it was March and I was worried about not being able to find an apartment in Burlington. So, as I said, I secured a living situation before I secured a job. Smart, right? Never do this.
So there I was, hanging out in Burlington but with no money coming in and a bank account draining daily from living expenses and monthly rent. Luckily, I found work at a bakery in Vergennes, VT, but that was only after about a month there, and it was only on Saturdays. I was happy with that, though, because it was something that interested me. After spending the weekend at a friend’s house in Norwich, VT, her mom informed me that she had a friend who worked at the Burlington Community Health Center, and perhaps they were looking for someone to help out in the summer! I have no interest in going into healthcare, but I was open to anything at this point. Lo and behold, they had just posted a position that, in their words, was “ideal for a college student.” It was 40 hours a week for 6 weeks– it actually ended the last day of my lease. So, for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks, I sat/stood outside on the sidewalk in the burning sun and pouring rain and directed confused patients through a construction zone. Talk about “character building” experiences. But I met some great people, and I really did have a good time. And I actually balanced out my bank account!
With spending the year in Paris, however, I’ve come to recognize that it will be most important for me to spend the summer at home, with my family. I don’t remember the last time I did this, and I want to get it out of my system while it’s still sort of socially acceptable. Because of this decision, I won’t be looking for any summer internships. Work, sure! I’ll need something to get me out of the house, as I think most people can understand that after being at home for 2 straight weeks, you start to go crazy.
But what about my Career Related Experience? How was I ever going to enter the workforce without having some sort of formal internship/work experience on my resumé? Who would want me? The words “LIFE FAILURE” kept flashing into my mind. I pictured myself lounging at home as a 30-year-old. I tend to be dramatic, but that’s where the whole anxiety thing comes into play. I couldn’t help but feel so much pressure to get an internship, even though I knew that to do so would be to create even more problems for myself. After being at home for only 30 days, maximum, since last March, I know that the most important thing for me is to spend time with my family and visit relatives. Of course, I’ll see my friends as well– but I need a summer of litte responsibilty while I can still get away with it!
Now, how does the title of this post come into play, here? Where am I going with all of this? Well, at the beginning of 2012, my friend Cordeliacame to visit. I already told you that. One day while I had class, she decided to wander around the quartier and explore. When I met up with her afterwards, she told me how she had found this super cute bakery– very New Yorkais– only 5 minutes from the house. She told me that I would enjoy it, so I asked her to take me back there another day. We decided the perfect time to do so was when our other camp friend, Caroline– who’s studying in Rennes for the year– came to visit that weekend.
We went to Sugarplum together on a Saturday, and loved it! Super cute space, with wonderful service and bright smiles. The carrot cake caught my eye, but right before I was about to order, I noticed a piece of paper from the corner of my eye. When I looked, I noticed it said “SUGARPLUM IS LOOKING FOR INTERNS.” What? Could it be true? I read further. “We’re looking for passionate/enthusiastic individuals to come work 2/3 days per week!” I couldn’t believe my luck. I inquired right then and there, and, after finishing the delicious carrot cake, met with one of the three Sugarplums, Laurel, who’s now the office manager (though she’s the original baker–all the baked goods in the display case come from her own recipes!). I had my first trial shift last Friday, and it went well– so now I’ll be interning there for all of February and March! It’s an unpaid internship, but as Laurel said… “we can pay you in cake!” And it’s so true. I’m going to have to watch my waistline these next two months!
I don’t have any of my own pictures of Sugarplum, but for more information, check out some of the following links:
Oh, and did I mention that Sugarplum is mainly a cake shop? Yep. They make wedding cakes, which does not help my out-of-control wedding imagination at all.
Stop by sometime for a glass of lemonade and a slice of carrot cake! My favorite combo.
Sugarplum, 68 Rue Cardinal Lémoine, 75005. Métro Cardinal Lémoine.