Saturday, August 23, 2014

Until Next Time

Guest Post By Michael Ginsburg:

To my cousin, "uncle" rich:

People are dying to get in here. 

Some say goodbyes are the worst. Not seeing someone after being with them for a while is tough, for anyone, and everyone. However, they justify these difficult goodbyes with "it's not goodbye, it's see you later." 

The night before I left for my third year of college I made my normal rounds and said goodbye to everyone I normally would. However, my last goodbye, a visit with my uncle rich at gilchrest could not be justified with a "see you later". 

This isn't a sob story, or at least it's not supposed to be. This happens to a lot of people every day. With everyone leaving for college and other ventures, this is simply my suggestion to cherish the time you have with somebody, don't wait till goodbye to tell them something important or share feelings. 

The nice thing about the visit was that it wasn't like visiting a hospice, it was like seeing my uncle in a normal place. We had a happy hour, watched the orioles and shot the shit. Goodbyes don't have to be sad, nothing has to be- it's all a matter of perspective. 

To all my friends going back to school and overseas for semesters abroad, this is also for you- until next time. 

To my uncle rich- I love you and although this may seem like goodbye, it's really just a see you later.

When I left I told him "see you soon". "Hopefully not," he replied. "Eventually," I said.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Not Just Another Summer

For the youth of the world (along with a lucky minority of adults), summer vacation is 3 months of down time to recharge, explore, and meet new people.  The beauty of summer is that you can forget about everything else in your life, and focus on what is happening right then and there.  Whether you spend it in Paris, Manhattan, or Wayne, is less important than the inevitable change of pace that summer brings to the monotonous life of a full-time student.
Thus far in my life, summer has been the time when nothing mattered, when there was no care in the world.  One summer I drove around Maryland playing baseball.  Another one, I sat in a tiny shack and served snowballs.  The idea that one day I might not have summer vacation scheduled into my life was never something that crossed my mind.
What I failed to realize in the past is that summer is a time of opportunity.  A summer internship could turn into a job for the next 30 years.  A summer romance could turn into a lifelong commitment.  More importantly, however, than these tangible opportunities is the freedom attached to this block of time.

As I sit here packing my last few things away for the semester, I can't help but feeling nostalgic.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that's a pretty common occurrence for me, and it's not as if a semester in Spain is going to be a step down from summer vacation, but it truly is sobering knowing that I could very well be approaching my last summer as a student.  Often times, summer is when kids grow up, when they learn independence, when curiosity becomes ambition.  Yet summer is also the very thing that keeps us young and fresh, that reset button that puts us back on track every year.  I certainly learned more about myself these past two months than I could have possibly anticipated, but right now I'm feeling pretty old.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I Work At Camp

I’m sitting on a cot, in a cabin, in the middle of the woods. I haven’t felt air conditioning in weeks, and haven’t had a proper shower in longer. No, I didn’t get an internship this summer; I didn’t even try. As much as the Goizueta Business School and many of my peers insisted that a taste of the “business world” was the obvious next step in my young life, I decided to return to a place that makes me happier than any other in the world. So here I am, in Wayne, Maine, spending my summer at Camp Androscoggin.

While many of my friends are wasting away in cubicles (albeit reeling in a lot more cash than I am working this 24/7 job), I’m coaching basketball and living with a bunk of eleven-year-olds. There is certainly something to be said about young adults pursuing their dreams, but I think the notion of an internship has polluted the way college students approach their future. In many cases, it seems as if students see internships as a way to discover their ambitions, as opposed to realizing their ambitions through those jobs.

At Emory, the pre-professional culture is overwhelming. The pressure to go pre-med, or join the Business School draws a huge chunk of the student body away from the liberal arts. After one semester at Goizueta, many of my classmates have bought in to the standard mantra that sophomore-internship = junior-internship = job-offer. They believe this because it’s true; if you go through the motions, graduate with decent grades, and apply for enough positions, chances are you’ll end up with a job out of college. In this economy, it really is difficult to argue with that equation.

This brings me back to camp. The reason I enjoy this job so much goes past my love of basketball and the summer weather in Maine. Androscoggin’s motto is “help the other fellow.” Here, we preach selflessness—acting for the benefit of the group rather than that of the individual. The counselors certainly don’t come back every year for the money; we come back for the community. This is the only place I’ve worked where success is measured not by what you’ve achieved for yourself, but rather, what you’ve helped others achieve.

The effect that camp can have on kids is sometimes astounding. The counselors here truly act as role models for the children that we look after all summer. Only a few people know that it was my former counselor’s blog that inspired me to start Student Parking Only. If he got an internship after his sophomore year at Duke instead of coming back to Andro, I might have never sat down to write that first fateful post.

Call it immaturity. Call it ignorance. Call it whatever you want. I don’t need an internship. I don’t even want one. Right now, I’m just trying to do my part to make the world a better place. For the kids here, I’m doing just that. Camp values all the virtues that an investment bank ignores. When you look at my resume, it reads camp counselor, but there’s something about this job that one line cannot really articulate. There isn’t anyplace I’d rather be.