Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t, but I have been a bit absent from this “Millecular” column. Not because I don’t want to be writing for my beloved Boulder community, but mainly because big meals have taken over on my plate this past month. I got this new job, I moved to a new state… and a whole mess of more in the personal life. That’s life, isn’t it?
However, I’ve learned very valuable lesson: I need to know when to set my guns down. You can chase a thousand dreams and feel accomplished at all of them — though you have to question the quality of work you’re putting into them. College is much the same way: we want to party, we want to drink, we want to be social, we want to hike, and all that jazz, on top of being good students.
We carry 30 different pistols and we make ourselves believe that we carry them correctly. Even when we shoot ourselves in the foot, we don’t even notice, because the repercussions are small.
When I was in college, most of the time I was pulling an 18-hour schedule and working two simultaneous internships. I had 11 completed internships before I left the University of Colorado. I laugh, because I want to say that it was possibly due to my youth. But it wasn’t. If anything, it was because the duties I had then compared to what I have now were and are different. My repercussions of bad work are futile in this juncture of my life.
I think, if I had to actually go back in time, I would have put more quality work behind less projects rather than trying to take on more projects and put in less quality word. That’s the academic system for you: It pushes students to do a copious amount of work, because it sells us on the idea that more is more. But, in reality, less is more. Having one very, very quality experience is 1,000 times better than 10 shitty ones.
Take it from me, a guy who learned the lesson, worked the work, and is now in a place to be able to reflect on what got him here. I did the internships, I took the tests, I worked the nights, dug the holes to keep the money coming in, and all of it. Hell, I was homeless for months just to keep myself in the internship loop. Why? Because none of my internships ever compensated me.
I thought that if I was pursuing something, I was gaining traction. Don’t get me wrong, I was. But it could have been better with less. Now, I am not advocating sitting on your ass and waiting for your dream internship to drop in your lap. I am advocating that you keep your pulse on any bad opportunities you’ve taken before you invest three months of your life into it. I advocate understanding that more is not always more. I am advocating that if you do quality work on one job, compared to 10 shitty jobs, you’ll be further ahead than that person who is doing the 10.
In the end, take advantage of what you know is going to be a quality experience, with quality people and one that ends with your upward-trending growth. Get out there, work hard, but more importantly, work smart.