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Lax In The City – 9.4.12

Sep 4, 2012, 1:26 PM EST

Notre Dame senior women’s lacrosse player Emily Conner had a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she interned with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native worked on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship offered Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports. Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which has offered a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the final entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

Two days following my internship at ESPN, I got to experience the joys of getting my wisdom teeth taken out. As I went under anesthesia, like any good sports fan, I was jabbering about the upcoming football season. When I woke up, I was going on and on about Space Jam – much to the nurse’s amusement! If you read my first blog, you will realize that despite all my personal reflections throughout the summer, my mind apparently hasn’t moved past Michael Jordan’s incredible acting in the ‘90s film classic. So, to conclude my blog series, I’ve decided to end the way I started – with a quote from the inspirational Michael Jordan:

Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.

This quote particularly resonated with me following my internship, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s because people’s questions have moved beyond what I’m currently doing and are now focused on what I will do. There really is no question more stressful for a college senior than “what are your plans for next year?” So many emotions lie in the proceeding three words: I don’t know…

My first day back at Notre Dame, we had a speaker talk to the all the senior athletes about leadership. She asked us to take out a piece of paper and write down where we saw ourselves in 5-10 years. I saw my teammates and friends scribbling down answers and I just sat there – not because I didn’t want to partake in the activity, but because I honestly did not know what to write. If I wrote down an incredibly attainable goal, would I just be limiting myself? If I “reached for the stars” so to speak, would I be setting myself up for disappointment?
As I pondered these questions, I decided to look back on my blogs from this summer for help. Could the lessons I took from my summer internship help me answer the inevitable question?

6.8.12 – “Live every moment for the moment”:
While I think setting goals and having a general idea about where you want to be in 5-10 years is incredibly important, I also think there is something to be said for seizing opportunities as they come. As I spoke about in my first blog, we do need to live every moment for the moment. If I had my mind set on exactly what I wanted to do over the next decade, could I end up missing out on something incredible? I don’t know. But I do know that I am prepared to face the challenges ahead of me, and enjoy them as they come. I’m not afraid of challenges and I want a job that fosters this.

6.15.12 – Thrive on both high and low expectations:
I focused a lot of this blog series on overcoming insecurities in order to become the best, most successful version of myself. The job search process can be incredibly daunting and definitely does bring out my insecurities. I mean if I think about it, I’m selling myself to employers. What happens if no one is interested in buying what I’m selling? Does that mean something is wrong with me? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I do know that the lessons I’ve learned this summer have taught me something pretty important. No matter what job I end up with, I will be expected to perform some tasks that will cause me to step out of my comfort zone and some that will come naturally to me. Regardless of the task, I need to remember how to thrive on expectations – whatever they may be.

6.28.12 – Remember the importance of commitment:
In this day and age, jobs come and go. People do not tend to spend their lives at one company or job anymore. Still, commitment is as important as ever. The only difference is that commitment may be reflected internally now more than it was in the past. While I would love to work for a company right out of college and stay with them throughout my career, statistics show that this is unlikely. While not every job will be a long term commitment, I have learned over the years that no matter what the timeline, you can only be successful at a job, sport, family, etc., if you make the daily commitment. As I go through my job search I hope to keep this important question in mind: can I see myself being able to commit as much time and energy as needed to be successful at _________ job? If the answer is no, I need to keep looking.

7.9.12 – “Push as hard as I can”:
This is similar to commitment. No matter what I end up doing I have to be willing to push as hard as I can. As my coach always says, “I don’t expect your tank to be full every day, but I expect you to give me 100% of what you have in it each day.” Nobody will expect me to be the Energizer bunny every day at work, but if I start each day with the mentality that I will give 100% of what I have, I will be successful. The same can be said for the job search. If I put in the time and use the resources given to me (Notre Dame Career Center, Alumni networks, etc.) then I will reap the benefits. I just have to be willing to put in the work.

8.2.12 – Establish who I want to be:
I feel like this summer I took my (metaphorical) car for a test drive. I got to see how I handled the bumps in the road as well as the smooth sailing. It is pretty cool if you think about it like that actually, because the features I didn’t like about “the car,” don’t have to be included when it comes time to purchase. I started getting many of the kinks out and am now building something I’m looking forward to driving for a long time. I know the type of worker I will/want to be. When it comes to selling myself in the job process, it is important that I remember this crucial fact. Knowing what type of employee you want to be can help you determine if you fit in with a company, position, etc. If you don’t fit, don’t settle. Be whom you want to be, and you will eventually find a job that will cultivate that person.

Ultimately, I decided not to write down where I saw myself in 5-10 years quite yet. I’m not ready to do that, and I think that is okay. The message got across to me with a blank sheet of paper just as well as if I’d had my entire five-year plan laid out. I took it as a sign that I have no limits, no illusions. My career path has not been laid out for me, but thanks to Notre Dame and my incredible internship at ESPN, I’ve started creating a path that I’m very excited about. I think every lesson I learned this summer is going to come into play as I go on the inevitable task of finding my first job. And you know what? I’m actually thrilled to start this process…Career Fair, t-minus 2 days. LET’S GO!!!

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