Anxiety. Nervousness. Self-doubt. These are all feelings that race through our minds when we look for our first internship in our desired fields. From the liberal arts to the hard sciences, it is nearly impossible to say it is not stressful. I was lucky to face almost none of these emotions during my job hunt for this summer. I took a long shot, and it paid off.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a software developer. Both my mother and my father were code monkeys at one point in their careers. They joked about putting me to sleep by showing me Windows 95 screen savers. That being said, it was no surprise that I wanted to continue the family legacy, and so the torch was passed down to me. I always tried to compete with my parents and their accomplishments, going as far as finishing high school a semester early. I decided to up the ante by using my own connections, not theirs, to get my first job. Thanks to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars , the search was shorter than I expected.
NSCS has a program called Scholar Connect, for entrepreneurs trying to find co-founders. I was told about it by NSCS on its Facebook page. At first, I thought this was not for me; I had no interest in founding a business. However, I had nothing to lose from trying. As a Computer Science major, all I wanted was a chance to apply my coding skills. My profile did not take long to complete and I began to look over the many individuals seeking someone with my skill set. Two days later, I found just what I wanted: a chance to be a code monkey.
“I understand you want someone to become your co-founder, but are you also looking for an intern by any chance?”
I sent a message similar to this to the only person who caught my eye. Almost immediately, I got a response. “Yes, we do need someone to work on this system,” they told me. We set up a Skype meeting to discuss the finer details of the job. After a short, informal interview, I was hired. I was willing to tackle this new project headfirst, especially when others were not, and that impressed my boss. Just like that, my long shot became my reality. A formal job offer was quickly delivered to me, and I promptly accepted. I was stressed only for a short period, but it was worth every minute.
I honestly have no idea how long my search would have taken if I were not an NSCS member. Not only does NSCSgrant many scholarships, but it also helped me land my first job. I could not be more thankful. To any current members, I advise you to have a look at Scholar Connect; take a shot and see where it takes you. To anyone who was invited to join us or is thinking about self-nominating, I say do it. Think of it as an investment, as you will get every penny’s worth.
Lucas Carvalho is a sophomore, Computer Science major at the University of Illinois. When he is not contemplating the intricacies of complex code, Carvalho can be found transcribing text, or learning new languages. His written works have been published in The Chronicle Cub, The Collegiate Scholar, and The Egalitarian. He loves classical music and has a fascination with typing speeds.