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The Better Half: The Summer Search

Trust us, we feel your pain when it comes to the summer internship search.

As partners, we may not be the ones sending out resumes and spending hours preparing for interviews, but cheerleading on the sidelines is just as exhausting at the end of the day.

We have spent weekends alone as our student partners embarked on West Trek or New York Trek or Just-Give-Me-Any-Job Trek. We have given up phone privileges to allow quiet and uninterrupted opportunities for securing interviews. We have made dinners and washed dishes alone so our partners can devote every minute possible to the summer internship search. But, most of all, we have remained encouraging and optimistic when the offer fails to materialize.

We also have a personal stake in this search. It determines whether some of us will be living alone this summer. Or whether others will quit their jobs to move with their partners.

Moving to Massachusetts was an adjustment in itself. But for many of us, the move was coupled with a change in our relationships. Some partners became newlyweds the summer before entering HBS. Some, like myself, become engaged. And others made the momentous decision of moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

So along with learning to be an HBS partner during the fall semester, we were also learning to live with someone new and start a life together. The summer internship, however, throws another curve ball our way.

This summer, some partners will find themselves alone in an apartment that they were used to sharing. Granted, at first the time alone at home may be much coveted, presenting an opportunity for grand plans for a girls’ weekend. But after a few weeks, most will likely feel something missing.

The piles of cases encircled by empty juice bottles and soda cans will have disappeared, but also missing will be the encouraging smiles and hugs awaiting us when we return from a grueling day at work. Our lives will continue their course as our partners leave to explore a new life. And, in the end, some of us will find ourselves alone in a city we chose as home on the sole basis of our student partners’ future plans.
For my partner friends who are quitting their jobs and moving, the change is even more extreme. You may think, what an easy life to be able to quit your job and move away for the summer. But the reality is that many temporary jobs found during the fall semester have not been satisfying, especially knowing another move may loom after graduation.

While our student partners ponder their summer internship options, many of us are pondering our own summer options. It’s not easy adjusting to a new job and lifestyle, only to have it change yet again. Living alone, moving, finding a new job – either way another change awaits us when the summer internship search comes to an end for our partners.

So again, I say, trust us, we feel your pain.

April 29, 2002
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