A Letter to the Internship I Didn’t Get

To the One that Got Away,

First of all, it wasn’t you, it was me. I’ve been playing the field since 2008.  I’m not ashamed to say I’ve had a few similar to you in my time.  I look back and I’m proud of everything I’ve learned, where I’ve been, the people I met, and every experience I’ve had.  Even though I couldn’t have you, just by trying, you have made me the person I am today.  I felt I have come full circle when my last “venture” turned into a mutual agreement to stay together – and let’s just say there are more benefits.  Even though I am happy with my new responsibilities and have promised to remain committed long term, late at night I find my mind wandering, and I can’t decide if I’m cheating.  I think about you, about the internship I couldn’t have.  The one that got away.

I think I am going through a “what does it all mean?” phase.  I have applied to a lot of internships in  my day and have been wondering about all those that didn’t work out.  If one of them had worked out, would it have changed who I am today?

In 2008 I had a dream to work in an art gallery or museum.  The prominent museums in New York City all offer internship programs that last a few months and give you first hand experience.  I had my eye on you, Whitney Museum of American Art Internship for the better part of the year, and swore that I would take more art history courses the following semester so I could have a better chance of getting you.  I was set to do it but then reality hit.  If I changed all my plans and declared a new major, I would be in school for another year.  I’m sorry, but I wasn’t ready to give up everything I’ve worked so hard for already.  Because there was hesitation, I knew it wouldn’t work out between us.  At the time, it was the best decision for me.  I do wonder about you, and if there have been interns that made you just as happy as I would have.

I can speculate and I will never know what could have happened, but it’s hard to imagine me being with anyone else.  Not many will admit, but there is “the one”  that they regret missing out on.  However, the would-ofs and could-ofs are what lead to considering new projects, careers, and meeting people across different industries.  So yes, I regret nothing.

We had some good times, hoping and dreaming of what could be.  I have to be honest – I’m not sure if I miss you, maybe just the idea of you.  Looks aren’t everything.  When you’re young, it’s easier to take on prospects that are unique, interesting, and know how to have a good time. I’m glad I’ve had my time to experiment, but I’m older now and need some commitment. I am happy with what I have now, and I hope you will find your ideal match too.


The Eternal Intern


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About the Author

Reb Carlson has over ten years' experience in marketing while working at top agencies (360i, MKG, Wunderman Thompson, and Razorfish), tech companies (Sprinklr) and startups (Master & Dynamic). Based in Brooklyn, she recently started her own marketing consultancy called Mad Focused, a practice focused on helping working creatives and their businesses thrive.

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