Summer Transitions

As I’m writing this, I’m facing my last week at my internship. The summer feels like it’s gone by in a blip. I’m doing a lot of wrap up—documenting the processes I’ve used so they can be continued, teaching a new analyst how to use a tool, creating slide decks for my two final presentations. The transition will be pretty abrupt for me. This Friday at 5 or so, I’ll leave work. Sunday morning I’ll drive down to southern California to visit with relatives, and then I’ll move back into Scripps on Tuesday for RA training. These last few weeks have been super busy, since I’ve been trying to cram in seeing all my friends and family around my normal work schedule. (I’ve had to sacrifice my daily workout, but hopefully Tiernan will be open when I get back).

I had a great, lengthy conversation with my manager yesterday about life choices and grad school and career options. She’s been tremendously supportive and appreciative of my work, and I was happy that she validated some of the unusual choices I’ve been making.

1.       Taking lots of math and economics, even though I’m all humanities on the inside: My manager got her MBA (while getting an MSW) for the same reasons — people who have quantitative or technical knowledge have power. I don’t want to let anyone mansplain why a policy I support isn’t economically feasible without the tools for refutation.

2.       Not returning next summer to my current internship, even though it’s well paid and at an organization I eventually want to work for: My manager (and my mentor, and my mom) stressed that internships are about exploration, and while they’d welcome me back, they understand that I want to figure out where I fit best.

3.       My semi-secret, maybe-probably-won’t-do it-but-maybe-I’ll-try-anyway dream of becoming an economist: My manager actually just assumed that path might be on my radar, since I’m interested in being a research assistant after graduation. It feels too big for me, and there certainly is a chance that I won’t make it all the way. I’m no math genius, and economic research is heavily math-based. Six years in a PhD program is a long time, and might conflict with babies and other life things. But there’s no danger in trying. It’s not as if I’ll be unqualified for any other jobs because I’ve taken too much math and econ. I can still go into policy, tech, teaching, or anything else, because of the magic powers of liberal arts education. At the moment, being an economist seems pretty appealing, because your work can involve theoretical research, policy focused research, and teaching. We’ll see if I survive multi-variable calculus!

I’m excited to switch gears next week for RA training. I’ve missed Scripps: the sunshine, the people, the beauty. I’m hoping that as much as I’ve stretched my analytical thinking at my internship, I’ll stretch my interpersonal intelligence in the next few weeks.

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