College students or recent graduates know the feeling of needing/wanting an internship before graduation. The sheer amount of competition out there is astounding. Everyone knows that having real-world business experience while still in school is the best way to get a step ahead of the rest of your colleagues.

As a student at the University of Florida, and heading into my final year as an undergrad; having an internship is and was my top priority. Not only did I want to get real-world experience, but it's a required course for me to graduate. Luckily at UF they have classes, advisors, student mentors, and 2 huge job fairs in the fall and spring to help.

I was lucky enough to find two opportunities; a promotion from my current employer in Gainesville and another with a full service marketing firm in the Pompano Beach area. This is where you feel like everything is falling into place and nothing can go wrong from here on out. That is where I made my mistake. The internship with the marketing firm was my top choice, since it pertains to my major. So, I let my boss know that I could give her my decision after my interview. Well, it seemed to go well and they asked when I can start. I let them know that all I needed to do was pack up my stuff in Gainesville and then I could start early the next week. I went back to Gainesville, put my stuff in storage and told my boss that I got the internship and that I was sorry, but I was going to have to turn down her offer.

Everything seemed to be coming together perfectly, so when I emailed my "new boss" to let her know I can start at any time I was surprised to find out that in her response that she "bit off more than she can chew" and didn't have the space for as many interns as she originally took on and therefore I was not needed. One week I was on top of the world with two opportunities and the next I'm unemployed.

It was a reality check and showed me the real world isn't easy and to get what you want takes hard work and dedication. I knew I needed to find a new internship right away. Not doing anything all summer was not an option, I would have been bored senseless. Luckily, I came into an opportunity to interview for a summer internship with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, and thankfully I got it.

In the end, I couldn't be happier with the outcome; this internship involves a lot of my interests such as learning about travel and different cultures, and I still get to be a part of the marketing aspect as well. I do have advice for people looking for a job or internship. Try to find a position you know fits your interests and passions. You don't want to be stuck doing a job that you hate because you are going to be spending a majority of your time at your place of employment. Do not allow the feeling of defeat hold you down. It just means a better opportunity is right around the corner, you just can't allow it to pass you by.

Lensey Knox, Intern
Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau