Realisations and Decisions

Since the beginning of this blog, I have applied for the following positions (to be honest, I may have forgotten a few…):

  • A internship with the development department at the Whitechapel Gallery: success!
  • A British Museum internship (through the KCL internship office): asked to interview, I withdrew my application due to time conflict with the Whitechapel.
  • A full-time admin position at the educational company I currently freelance for: didn’t make the shortlist, they hired someone with much more experience of third-sector admin work.
  • A one year position at a London academy as an ‘intervention tutor’ working with underachieving students: never heard back, presumed unsuccessful.
  • A part-time learning assistant position at the Horniman Museum: never heard back, presumed unsuccessful.
  • A speculative application to the Victoria and Albert for no position in particular: filed in their database, no word yet.
  • Tate Modern, many, many times: not successful – YET!
  • A one-day-a-week Education volunteer position at the Museum of Brands: recently submitted, haven’t heard back either way yet.
  • I responded to a call-out to past interns from the Whitechapel Gallery for some occasional learning event volunteers: haven’t heard back.

The bad news is: filling out endless applications and being rejected is pretty exhausting and bleak. The good news: I’ve gotten very good at writing personal statements!

Before this year I hadn’t ever really been turned down by anything that I had applied for: My school, Cambridge for my undergrad, my summer job that I’ve held for the past three years, KCL for my postgrad. Even my first internship application (to the Whitechapel Gallery) was successful. Over the past nine months however, I have been turned down time and time again. Although the process of applying to all of these opportunities has been pretty disheartening at times, I think the experience of rejection has been important to my growth. It’s allowed my to refocus my energies, decide what opportunities I really want to apply for, and has forced me to evaluate myself, my experience, and even my CV and personal statement writing to see where and how I need to improve.

As enriching as this process has been, however, it has also been very distracting and time-consuming. For the past several months, my week has centred around Thursday evenings, when the poor soul at the University of Leicester updated the Museum Studies Jobs Desk (seriously one of my favourite websites at this point: www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/JobsDesk). Time I use to spend on facebook I now spend looking for jobs and opportunities – but sometimes I think I may have just substituted one method of procrastination for another.

And so I am forcing myself to make a hard decision: after I send off a few internship applications due in the next few weeks, I am going to put my search on hold (or at least, scale it back considerably) until I have finished my dissertation so that my attention will no longer be divided.The feeling that I might be missing out on the PERFECT opportunity is pretty powerful, but I know that if this decision means I can afford the kind of quality time and attention that both my research and my job hunt really deserve.

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