Student Newsroom: An Internship that Pays

The conversation went something like, “Alright, Bre, we’ve figured out a plan for you to work here at the grocery store over the school year.”

“What’s that?” I inquired to my boss, Keith, a chuckle under my voice.

“You know about those internship programs, where you work somewhere and write essays and stuff about what you’ve learned from your job?”

“Yeah, sort of like a work-study program?”

“Yeah, so basically you would get to work here over the school year with an internship. The (best) thing is, you wouldn’t get paid!” He joked, an ornery grin spreading across his face.

With a light-hearted laugh, I respectfully declined his offer. The thing is, my job has already blessed me with countless lessons I can write essay after essay about, without the title of “internship.”

Lesson 1: Let people help you; it’s blessing them

One of my favorite parts of a typical day at Crow’s Stop & Shop is carrying out groceries for people. Every time, it gives me a feeling of importance, a warmth in my heart knowing I’ve helped someone out that day. Helping others feels good! It’s human nature.

From time to time, a customer will offer some cash they have on hand. Oftentimes, we are reluctant to accept it. After all, we are already getting paid to do it, and the feeling we get from helping someone out is payment enough.

However, this is the customer’s way of expressing their gratitude, returning the favor, and therefore experiencing the same warmth in their heart we receive with heavy plastic bags cutting the flesh of our arms.

Jokes aside, by gratefully accepting the offer, we are making the person in question feel better. As my boss Jen puts it, by accepting anything, be it a dollar or two, a little bit of help, or a compliment, you are allowing their blessing to manifest.

Lesson 2: Express your appreciation and love to the people you care about

Many words go left unspoken. No matter who you are, you have at some point in your life locked a thought in the prison of your mind, left to rot forever, no one else knowing of its existence.

This happens for many reasons. Perhaps you don’t know how to piece together the words to say what you mean, you’re waiting for the right time, or you’re afraid of the reaction you’ll get when you finally work up the courage to say anything.

As a perpetual overthinker, trust me; you’re overthinking it.

Just say what’s on your mind. The best time to say it was yesterday, and the second-best time is now. Mere thoughts have eventually— after being expressed and acted upon— carved a world in which we have plumbing and footprints on the moon.

That leads me to wonder… What all hasn’t happened because of thoughts never shared, words left unspoken?

What if you tell that person, you really like them, and they reject you? Does your child, angry at you for one reason or another, care if you are proud of them? Will everyone laugh at you for your crazy dream? The uncertainties we are concerned about should look a little different.

What if you end up spending your life without your “soulmate” because you were too afraid to approach them? What if your child grows up not knowing how proud of their strength and achievement you are? What if you end up on your deathbed, knowing you didn’t live your life to its fullest potential?

At Crow’s Stop & Shop, we have a family. All it takes is a simple “thanks” for helping one another out, a few words of support for anyone overcoming obstacles within their personal lives. Since working there, there’s never been a moment that I’ve doubted how much my bosses and coworkers appreciate me. In a way, this is me letting them know how much I appreciate them.

Lesson 3: Family matters most

I don’t know where I’ll go when I inevitably graduate, go off to college, and leave my family, my hometown, and the grocery store. The thought of it is exciting! Yet, to be completely honest, it’s a bit sad and scary to think about.

I’ve grown so much throughout my high school career, and I have many things to thank for it. I’ve learned to challenge myself through taking on leadership positions within my high school. I’ve learned to show up every day after taking up my job at the grocery store. I’ve learned to be authentic, to be unafraid of the judgement of others as I chase after my ambitions and be a “try-hard,” as my classmates put it, from my parents.

We can get so caught up in the shallow view of success and fulfillment. The romanticized, picture-perfect image of it is depicted as getting the highest education at the most prestigious college, entering a competitive career, getting rich, making huge advancements in society and marking your spot in a history book.

It’s easy to forget the things that truly matter with such an image hanging over your head, when you are told that, “you have so much potential!”

I put a lot of pressure on myself to reach my “full potential,” whatever that means. Sometimes I lose sight of what life is all about. Sometimes, I’m coming to realize, it is important to sit back and simply experience it. It’s important to enjoy your company, make memories with the people in your life, and appreciate the community that has shaped you into the person you are today.

No matter where I go or what I do, I’ve made a promise to myself to stay grounded with my roots, to stay true to myself. Working at the grocery store, I’ve found that life can be fulfilling without “making it big.” It is the people in your life, anyone who is a part of your journey, that make it meaningful.

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