by Tamilore Oladipo
Let me give you a little tidbit about myself: I’ve been working every summer since I was 14 years old. One summer it was at a magazine, another was at an aviation company and for the past two summers, I have worked at a digital marketing agency. Being an intern is fantastic, you get loads of experience and people are always impressed by how quickly you soak up knowledge because they think your youth places an embargo on your level of intelligence.
However, working like this has also caused me to somewhat lose myself in thoughts of what career path I want to go on and has led me to take up many responsibilities as a result. I have jobs, paid and unpaid that I do while at school; I am constantly applying for internships at companies all over the world. To be honest, as long as it has a marketing department and is a Fortune 500 company, I’ve probably applied there. I have been rejected more times than I can count and I keep getting back up and shaking off the disappointment.
I know there are some people who will read this and wonder how old I am and whether I actually have a life: the answer to that is no, I do not have a life. I am constantly tired and constantly questioning my decision to take on work whenever I do it, choosing a paycheck over relaxing. We are all under so much pressure to succeed and not disappoint our parents and I am part of the group of people that made a decision to take things a step further and not disappoint from my early teens. This decision meant that I never took the social aspects of my life very seriously and I’m struggling to catch up now.
My parents have told me that they are proud of me for wanting to get an early start and taking steps to continue like this, but I am terrified for myself. I turn 19 in a few days and I can honestly say that I have no true “experience”. I am particularly unadventurous, a habit that I’m in the process of breaking, and I have little to no regard for anything that does not entertain me or further my prospects.
The amount of pressure that I place on myself (and some persons out there reading this article also place on themselves) is not unprecedented when one considers past and current economic situations of our dear country and how much money one needs simply to survive. I will soon reach an age where I will have lost the chance to be a young person but I console myself that in the grand scheme of things, hanging out with my friends will not have added anything to my CV. It is probably very unhealthy to have such ideas in my head but no one is going to stop me, and tell me to live my life the way a young person should, because we Nigerians believe in hard work. We take pride in our hustle, making money fast and spending it even faster, especially with people my age. I have made and spent money at all these summer jobs, money that my father tells me is the monthly salary of some adults with three children.
I know this sounds a little repetitive especially considering my last article, but living life (within reason) is not a crime. Look for new experiences, don’t abandon your friends, work hard but don’t burn out before you leave school.
As a young person, forcing herself to work towards an honestly unclear goal, I will tell you, article reader, to live a little.
Tamilore Oladipo is a Mass Communication student at Pan-Atlantic University with interests in blogging, digital marketing and music.