DOYLE: With internships, lazy days of summer are no more

Seamus DoyleDuring the short, dark days of winter, it may be hard to remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, a season of warmth and sunshine. Summer has always been a sacred time for me, a time of freedom, ease and adventure. This summer, that’s all changing.

Throughout my earliest years – growing up on Milwaukee’s north side in the Washington Park neighborhood – summer was ignorant bliss. I was too happy with my big wheel tricycle and popsicles to worry about the crime and violence that slowly infiltrated my neighborhood.

By the time I turned six, my family moved to the west side of Milwaukee, a mere stone’s throw from the suburbs. The summers there were sweet relief from the anxiety of school and my juvenile responsibilities. Armed with a new best friend and a great big park, the possibilities were limitless. Riding my bike down to the lake every July 3 to see the fireworks, game nights with my older sisters and their friends, the backyard barbeques and occasionally getting into – and out of – trouble.

Then along came high school and with it “the summer job.” My first at the Wisconsin State Fair, working in food prep and busing tables for Saz’s, a BBQ ribs joint, I later worked as a Milwaukee County Lifeguard. It was there that I learned about a real work ethic, seeing a job through and always giving it my best. But even with the added responsibility, those summers brought safety, familiarity and, beyond all, fun.

I wouldn’t trade my time lifeguarding at inner city Milwaukee pools for the world because of the people I met and the experiences I had.

Yet, as a junior in college, I have come to the stark realization that lifeguarding experience won’t find me a job, and my mother is quick to point this out anytime the word “internship” is mentioned.

Making difficult decisions has never been my forte. Taking the easy way out can be too, well, easy. I studied abroad in Rome because most of the people there speak some English. The apartment my roommate and I live in is the only one we looked at, so I said “why not?” Even Marquette was the easy choice, being from Milwaukee with two parents who are alumni, a sister who was a senior here, and a slew of classmates from my high school planning on attending. Today, however, I still believe Marquette was the right decision.

I’ve already applied to a number of internships – most having to do with public policy, government, economics, democracy and conflict resolution – all topics that I am deeply interested in and excited about. I have grand plans for changing the world, no matter how foolhardy they might be. As sad as I am to be leaving behind the simplicity of past summers, I’m excited for the challenges ahead.