College Connect: Taking a semester off: Dreams vs. Money: Reality Sets In

Posted By sabew

Candace Sautman

By CANDACE SAUTMAN, University of Missouri


Never let money play a factor in pursuing your dreams, or so we’re told.

That notion sounds nice, but money typically plays the largest factor. This has become increasingly clear during my time here in New York City.

This past summer I had an internship in the city that most would consider rare. It was paid. I was making $10/hour working about 40 hours a week at media agency Media Planning Group (MPG) working on the most prized account, LVMH, the company tha makes Louis Vuitton. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but once I started interning somewhere unpaid I appreciated this once undervalued luxury.

After I ended my summer internship, I headed back to Columbia to start RA training for the residence halls. Less than a week before I arrived back to school I had applied to a number of fashion/editorial magazine internships for the fall. I did it on a whim and didn’t think much of it at the time. But on the last day of my summer internship, the day before my flight back to St. Louis, I received an email from the Market Director’s assistant at Marie Claire asking if I’d like to come in for an interview right at that second. I asked my boss at the time if I could leave, she approved and I headed straight over to the Hearst Corporation building.

Days later after returning to Columbia, I received emails from other magazines wanting me to interview with them as well. Ultimately, I had additional interviews with Lucky, Cosmopolitan and Vogue.

On a Tuesday, after being in Columbia for four days I received an offer to be one of the interns for the Market Director. After much deliberation and after talking to my closest friends, I decided to go for it. As cliché as it sounds, I had a dream that I was older and was wallowing about all the things I wished I would’ve done and all the decisions I should’ve made, but didn’t. I took that as fate telling me to take a chance and chase after my dreams.

I never saw myself as the type to just drop school so quickly in pursuit of an ill-thought out dream. My logic: School isn’t going anywhere and this is an amazing opportunity, to work along such esteemed figures like Zanna Roberts-Rassi, Joanna Coles, Nina Sterghiou, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Nina Garcia. This was an experience I didn’t want to regret living out.

Immediately after making my decision and accepting the internship, I booked tickets to arrive in New York that Thursday. I resigned from my RA position and other professional responsibilities and withdrew from all of my classes. I had consultations with my academic and financial advisor and prepared myself for the upcoming spring semester so that everything was straightened out once I returned. After everything was said and done, I had given up two paid part time jobs, free room and board and two academic scholarships. In addition to all of that, I was charged about $300 for cancelling my housing contract. Not to mention leaving behind my friends, family, school, stability and comfort.

All these things I left behind in chase of a dream. A dream I feel outweighs everything given up. This dream was quickly crushed by reality. The reality that money is hard to come by considering the position I’m in as a full-time, unpaid intern.

Candace Sautman is a senior at the University of Missouri. She took fall semester off to work in the fashion world in New York.

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