Guess what? Today was my first day at my very first internship! Just a recap, I’m an intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History doing web production for the Ocean Portal. The Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall opened in 2008 and houses a multitude of marine organisms for the public to enjoy. My job is to work with the Ocean Portal, the web compliment to Sant Ocean Hall. Here you can find fantastic facts and educational resources about ocean conservancy and exploration accompanied by what we call collaborators such as National Geographic, Ocean Conservancy, UNESCO’s World Heritage Progamme, and many, many more to enlighten viewers about our ocean.

I’ve always been fascinated with anything related to ocean exploration, from biblical sea monsters in history, scientific research on different species of fish, maritime literature (the very first “chapter” book I’ve ever read was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), to films (Finding Nemo!…sike). In fact, before I was an economics major, I majored in bio because I had marine science in grad school on my mind.

Speaking of majors, I’ve been thinking about a whole bunch of potential ones lately. You can be gung-ho about majoring in X, Y, and Z, but it’s good to go into college with an open mind. At first I wanted to do Art when I was younger, then moved to law, then psych, and ended in international relations throughout high school. I applied to Marymount as a biology major but immediately switched to economics before school started because for some reason I kept thinking there weren’t other options besides pre-med for bio majors, even though I had marine science in mind. But since I like writing, it was always a dream of mine to write for National Geographic, or maybe even Discovery, so working at the Smithsonian is a great opportunity to see if I want to switch to bio or communications.

ANYWAYS, now that I’ve bored you to death with my frivolous ambitions, here’s the fun part: how it applies to you. Like I said before, come into college with an open mind. If you keep your head set on one thing, you will miss so many opportunities that are potentially being handed to you! Tunnel vision only makes your world smaller. You’ll additionally learn more about things you could perhaps be interested in had you taken the time to branch out to other disciplines. I’ll give you an example: I was emphatic about majoring in international relations and basically planned out my entire high school courseload based on that goal. Things didn’t work out the way I “planned”, so I learned the art of flexibility (which, in addition to an open mind, is just as crucial!) and played by my strengths, and apparently that wasn’t international relations. I kept pushing for it that I missed out on my interests in oceanography, writing, and most importantly, art. I haven’t taken an art course in four years, which is why my drawing course next sem is blowing my mind right now. Additionally, if I chose to do international relations, I wouldn’t have rekindled and took action in my other interests.

Lastly, in the words of Mark Twain, don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education. What worked for me this semester is focusing on the actual knowledge I’m shelling out thousands of dollars for, rather than a numerical GPA that will only cause suffering. I’m sure there’s some correlation out there that says learning is easier when you’re genuinely interested in it or something, but who knows; not me, or else I’d be  an education major.

So, prospective applicants, as you’re wrapping up your applications, keep in mind these three tips. I’m surviving in college because, like I said above, I have an open mind, playing by my strengths, and focusing on the knowledge, not GPA. Part of “the college experience” is *surprise surprise* actually learning!