Did I waste my summer?

I’m doing an internship this summer, and I’m struggling — all the other interns are way ahead of me.

Nothing lasts forever, says our elder. Take this opportunity to be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and adjust your classes if you need to.

Dear EWC

I am a freshman at university and am doing an internship related to Machine Learning along with a minor course in AI during my summer holidays. I feel like I wasted my free time and maybe I should have been relaxing instead of stressing myself out over things I cannot do. I am recently facing a lot of problems with my internship and minor. They are way more difficult than I thought they would be. Moreover, I feel lonely there because my friends chose to go home rather than stay back so I am the only one at university from my batch. I am interning at a research lab and they selected interns based on their GPA, hence my selection, yet I feel like my GPA caused people to expect too much from me. I also feel like the people I am interning with are far ahead of me. I understand the only one who can help me right now is myself. A word of advice would be useful though.

GrannyJ replies

Thank you for writing to EWC. Being a freshman in university, and doing an internship are both challenging ventures for a young person. There are a lot of unknowns, and you have to have more self-reliance than ever before. I can remember my freshman year, and I think that is a time when college students develop a bit of “reality shock”. Things end up being different from what was expected, and the self-doubt tends to creep in. It does not help that your friends have gone home. I’m sure you feel some loneliness.

It will not be long before the summer semester is over, your friends will be back, and I assume your internship will end then? My point in mentioning this is that nothing lasts forever. No matter how difficult a situation may be, you will get through it to the end. Keep that in mind.

Something else I suggest is that if your internship work is difficult for you, and you feel less qualified than your peers, that’s OK. Look at this as an opportunity to evaluate your own abilities and weaknesses, and possibly change your path a little. I suggest going to meet with a guidance counselor at your school to see if you need to adjust your curriculum. Maybe you don’t need to take the most difficult classes, or internships, in order to obtain your degree. As a freshman, I was automatically placed in calculus-based on my high school ACT scores, and I had to drop the class because I just didn’t get it. Dropping that class and making it up with an easier math class had not bearing whatsoever on getting my degree. My point is that people make adjustments very often, and that may be necessary for you as you proceed.

You are correct. No one can help you but yourself, but try to take one day at a time, and make a commitment that you will try to find positive things in each day. If your internship is hard, take that as a challenge, and work a little harder. You will be proud of your accomplishments. Try not to compare yourself to your fellow interns. You are who you are, so learn to make the best of you.

Lastly, this period of your life will soon pass. You will get through it and be fine, I’m sure. Hang in there! Write again if you need more advice. I wish you all the best!

Letter #: 444623
Category: School

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