What I Learned from Landing My Dream Summer Job (And How You Can Do the Same)

This is what dreams are made of.

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Summer jobs are a mixed bag of greatness and risk. Oftentimes, when we all head back home for the summer, we often return to our pre-college jobs (retail or fast food jobs, what up?). Then there is the millennial problem that, if you do score an awesome job in your field, 7 out of 10 times, it’s an unpaid internship and you’re spending your cold hard time and cash to make it work.

Which is part of the reason why I’m shocked (and thrilled) to find myself in my dream summer job (a DJ at my local radio station), learning new skills for my career path and getting paid to spend my time there. 

While I’ll only have been working there for a short time by the time this article comes out, the experience of applying taught me a lot. Here’s what I learned during the process of getting my job and how you can score your dream job yourself:

1. Taking a Risk Pays Off

To say that I was on a mission to never go back to McDonald’s would be an understatement to say the least. That being said, McDonald’s (or any fast food or retail place) is usually the easiest route to employment. It would have been very easy to just grit my teeth and just go back to working for Ronald (the only clown I’m not completely scared of) this summer, but I decided to take a risk.

For you, taking a risk may be sending in an application to a job you’re not sure you’re qualified for, or trying to freelance for the first time. For me, taking a risk involved cold-calling every radio station and newspaper in a twenty-five (and then fifty) mile radius of my hometown. 

Now, before you think this was easy, let me say: I was turned down over and over again. I didn’t hear back from some of them, and only one place even gave me a maybe (the place that ended up hiring me). I did have to wait a week or two, but that maybe became an interview offer, and that ten-minute interview became a definitive yes. I wouldn’t have gotten that yes if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and been willing to be rejected.

2. Improvisation is all you have sometimes 

This is some uncomfortable news for all the planners out there: sometimes, you’re just going to have to go with the flow. Is that scary? Yes. Terrifying, even? Extremely. Worth it? Oh yeah.

You never know what life is going to throw at you, be it on or off the job. For example, during my first night at the radio station, someone brought their very talkative Chihuahua into the studio while I was on the air. The microphone picked up every bark, and all I could do was make a joke, finish what I needed to say, and then cut to commercial. My supervisor complimented me for thinking on my feet, the dog barking all the while.

True, that’s a quaint example, but there are times where you have to think on your feet and stay calm. It won’t do you any good to get flustered and shut down, especially if immediate action is needed. Go with your gut, do what you can, and you’ll be fine.

3. Don’t Dwell on Your Mistakes

I have already lost count on how many times I stumbled over my words, couldn’t remember the radio station name because I was tired, or mispronounced a musician’s name. My first night at the station, I was fretting over every little stutter that came out of my mouth, even though I had heard my boss stutter and forget his place while he was on the air too!

The second night at the station, I had an epiphany after I lost my train of thought while transitioning between songs. My listeners don’t care about my mistakes.

Sure, that doesn’t give me permission to do a bad job or to be lazy. But it does give me permission to be human. No one called in after I messed up a word to berate me — they were just happy that their favorite music was playing!

Mistakes, especially small ones, happen in seconds and become no big deal in the same amount of time. Don’t stress over it.

What do you think?

What has your summer job taught you? Have you landed a dream summer job? If so, how did you do it? What life secrets have you learned while at your dream job? What’s on your mind this week– and how can College Fashion help? Let us know in the comments!

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