Thursday, December 27, 2012

There for you

Well it's internship application season, so first and foremost on my mind is the question of whether or not I'm actually prepared to re-enter the working world this upcoming summer. I've sent out a few email inquiries, made a bookmark category for internship search sites and started freaking out about not being on the ball up to this point. But it's an exciting time, and I'm happy to re-enter the fray, however stressful the situation may be as I go back to school in less than two weeks.

But on the note of internships, and indirectly related to the subject, sometimes I wonder how qualified I am to do any sort of job. In the way of literal careers, yes, I am in college and I'm getting a well-rounded education. So that's moderately squared away.

What about real life experience, though? Do I have enough of that? Or rather, any of that? Can I give anyone advice without looking like a shallow, inexperienced hypocrite myself?

When I was in elementary school, I read a lot of dating articles. I was 100 percent silly for doing so because i hadn't even reached puberty yet and I certainly wasn't old enough to have experienced anything romantic up to that point. But it was a topic that interested me.

I had a favorite website called that had an entire encyclopedia of dating and kissing tips, suggestions of how to get boys to like you and how to know if they liked you. While now the site is dedicated more to horoscopes and other such nonsense, back then I considered it a sort of romance Bible from which I could gather all the information I'd need to have a prosperous love life whenever that issue should arise.

It took quite a few years. But in the same way that stored knowledge over the years in elementary, middle and high school prepared me for the years I'd actually have to apply myself in college (and presumably beyond), the experience of reading articles on boys made me feel like I was more comfortable with the concept when I did start dating.

And more comfortable telling people about what I had never actually experienced.

Soon after I started reading MyJellyBean articles, I made my own website on this free webpage-building service. I called the site "CrushLove Advice." It was a great compendium of all that I'd learned from my own research, and even though it came from a place of inexperience, it was an example of my sincerity about the subject. This wasn't just me being frivolously interested in dating, it was me actually conducting my research on the subject like a science..and then applying it to my own "thesis"-building. If you could call the pre-made-template site that I created a "thesis."

Even before I dated myself, I remember friends coming to me with questions about their love lives. We'd discuss how their interactions with boys had occurred and we'd over-analyze every little thing. To be honest, even when I was pulling advice straight out of nowhere, my Sherlock Holmesian deductive skills (hah) and my fascination with the topic made my analyses fairly sophisticated for someone so immature.

It all came to the point of many of my friends becoming much more romantically-involved than me over the years, yet I still offered them advice regardless of my own experiences.

And now, so many years later and still only moderately experienced (however happy in a relationship I am), I still find myself in that place of giving people suggestions and advice on a topic that is somewhat beyond me. And I still think that my analyses carry some weight.

So am I qualified to give anyone advice? After only living for 20 years, do I really know enough about anything to tell anyone about much more than filling out college applications and writing a good journalism lead? These are my most obvious categories of expertise.

In my experience, it has always been the advice of someone who cares for you or even just cares to listen that matters the most. Regardless of experience, regardless of similarities to the recipient of the advice, it's the fact that there's someone on the other end of the receiver listening to the problem and then offering suggestions that really matters.

I've always tried to be receptive in this way, and even when I don't think I'm entirely qualified to give suggestions, I try to the best of my ability to share with people how I might act in a situation similar to theirs. And I hope I never steer them too far off the track.

There are some people who are certainly not fit to be advisers. But I've always hoped I didn't fall into that category, because in my heart of hearts I really love helping those I care about. It goes as far back as CrushLove Advice and as recent as a text conversation I'm having at this very moment.

So as winter ends, as internship season gets into full swing, as I enter a period in my life where I'm still too young and innocent to offer sound suggestions on everything, but I'm wise enough to aid people with logic, I just want to thank anyone who has ever confided in me anything personal. It means so much to know I can be trusted, and know I can help. I love being there for you, even if I'm not qualified.

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