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Thoughts from Quarantine: Uncertain Summer

This is “Thoughts from Quarantine,” a weekly series in which three of our editors will answer a variation of this simple question: “How are you feeling?” This week’s prompt is, “How are you feeling about your summer internship/job plans?

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Briah Lumpkins, News Editor:

TOLEDO, Ohio — I really hope I have a job this summer. 

That’s the thought that crosses my mind at least a million times a day. With each establishment closure and the extension of stay-at-home orders, I can’t help but worry about what the future holds. 

I’m currently supposed to spend the summer in Ohio’s capital, interning at The Columbus Dispatch. I’ve been so geeked about the opportunity since the moment I got the offer. It was going to be my first real taste of adulthood. 

My own apartment, a grown-up job, grocery shopping, buying a George Foreman grill — you know, real adult shit. 

Yet with each day, my George Foreman meal fantasies are slipping away. 

I’m the kind of person who plans out absolutely everything. I’ve already planned how I wanted this summer to go and how this opportunity will impact the next summer. 

But I didn’t plan for this. No one did. 

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Madeline Phaby, Asst. News Editor:

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CHICAGO — For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a historian.

Spending hours poring over old documents in a musty archive is my idea of a good time, and if that makes me a nerd, so be it.

When I found out I’d been named an Undergraduate Summer Scholar in early March, I was elated. Summer Scholars are awarded $3,000 to work on a faculty-mentored research project for 9 weeks over the summer, and I planned to use the scholarship to take a road trip through the southwest, visiting various archives and doing research for my honors thesis. My nerdy dreams would finally be realized.

I should’ve known it was too good to be true.

A few weeks later, I got an apologetic email from my advisor saying the Summer Scholars program had been canceled due to the novel coronavirus, so I’d have to figure out a different way to do my research.

I bawled to my mom for a while, then forced myself to get over it. My summer plans being canceled is a relatively small problem in the context of a global pandemic.

Still, though — learning I’ll be spending my summer behind my laptop screen instead of in the deserts of the southwest has been a tough pill to swallow.

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Chloe Murdock, Magazine Editor:

OXFORD, Ohio—I didn’t have plans lined up for this summer before everything canceled. I still don’t.

About a month ago, I accidentally dressed up for a phone interview. Haven’t heard back.

I tried. I really did. I was most excited after applying at NPR, which canceled its internship program before interviews even began.

And I had offers! I had quit two prior paid internships to focus on editing The Miami Student Magazine, before I found out I wouldn’t be paid until next fall. I could have simply returned to one of them remotely for the summer.

But I’m nearing my last summer before senior year, and I need to figure out what I want from the rest of my life. I don’t know yet, so I can’t do that in a place I’ve already been. And I can’t do that in a new place that’s going to endanger my health or someone else’s.

Prioritizing experience and safety over money is not a luxury everyone has, especially right now.

I have friends whose paid summer research has been canceled. I have friends who are graduating with no idea what they’re going to do in this economy. I have a friend with a flooding apartment who just lost her job. I have a friend who was planning to leave her home country for better opportunities and can’t do that now.

I have no business complaining. So I do something else.

After a month of quarantine passed, ideas for new projects have poured out of me. My Notes app is popping with book ideas and business plans for a future coffee shop.

It’s probably too late for me to land a dream summer internship. Luckily, I have the luxury of one last summer to dream. Maybe I can turn those dreams into a better reality.

lumpkibm@miamoh.edu 

phabymr@miamioh.edu

murdocc3@miamioh.edu

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