The Internship

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have never liked asking children what they want to be when they grow up. To begin, I wish we asked them who they want to become. I’d rather a child focus on their personality than a possible profession. Moreover, I think we ask children questions that we struggle with as adults. This has always been confusing and conflicting to me, especially as an educator and woman centered in self-development and growth mindset.

I want to be many things. Yes, I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, educator, and writer. However, these titles are only part of me. I am also a dreamer who is determined to make every childhood dream, and all the ones thereafter, possible or pursued without question. I do not believe I am destined for one career or one direction, but rather, I see the need and benefit to explore every interest or invest in multiple opportunities. I also believe in the power of passion, which can change, inspire, or invoke the unimaginable or capture the fathomable. Either way, I’m completely consumed by life’s lemonade and have always celebrated chances to make a mark in the world.

I am a carpe diem type of person, but please don’t mischaracterize and label me as an example of toxic positivity. I am acutely aware that life has its struggles and overwhelming obstacles. However, I choose to embrace the vulnerabilities of such experiences and realities with gratitude. I am my best self when I am uncomfortable or somewhat scattered. If that’s annoying or weird I’d argue so is your refusal to see the potential in such an attitude and approach. In the end, “we become the person we decide to be.”

I spent my first 39 years doing all sorts of random and relevant living. This next episode of life is the professional internship not often granted to 40 year old women, let alone anyone past the age of 21, but it’s the chance to try something different, and to end any lingering doubts about my capabilities or commitments. It’s also permission to flounder or flourish with no apologies or guilt.

My internship query is below. Do me a solid will you? Forward to someone who can help. This is my whole heart on paper and a detailed extension of “A Little Bit of Everything.”

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a 39 year old mother of two girls, ages 4 and 6. I am happily married to my better half for almost 10 years, but I have been in a committed relationship with him for the better part of 17 years. I have a B.A. in Communication with a concentration in film studies and a M.A. in English Literature. I have worked on film sets and in classrooms. Each experience has afforded me enriching and educational opportunities.

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, I’m forever a girl of winter, fan of the underrated and stereotyped, and promoter of possibility. To me, this encapsulates the Queen City I hail from. I now reside in New Jersey, and much like Buffalo, its reputation is one of confusion, conflict, and general debate. To be clear, I love the Garden State. On one end it’s congested, expensive, and messy, but it’s also beautiful, peaceful, and full of hidden treasure. From crowded trains to sandy shorelines, there’s mystery and magic here.

I live in Madison, New Jersey, which I often refer to as “Bedford Falls.” The storyteller in me has been awakened and encouraged by the suburban scene that surrounds me.

As for this unconventional introduction, let me explain. I’m tired of the old ways. Being professional doesn’t mean one can’t be personable. Moreover, I need you to know me in my real form. I’m writing because I have internship goals. I want to try on the dreams closeted in my head and believe that I can, and society will, let me return to the working world differently.

First and foremost, I’m a teacher. I will never not teach, but moving forward I might do so more through example than the traditional classroom. My first internship request is for more school districts to grant me a professional development opportunity simply entitled “faculty fika.” The idea is to gift faculty a time to freely and openly share their experiences and requests via casual conversation outside of the standard scenario. I’m bringing coffee, my best listening ears, and I want to engage. Far too often our teachers are silenced into submission by red tape and antiquated approaches.

I am fairly certain when people talk of “This is Us” they think of the dynamic cast and the incredible storylines. I do as well. However, I also think of New Jersey native, Dan Fogelman. I want an internship with him. Please God let someone reading this find and foster a connection.

I have tagged them on social media and tried to politely stalk them from afar, but oh if the folks from Hello Sunshine and I could connect that would be so lovely. They’re changing the narrative for women and I’m trying to do the same.

Do you subscribe to the Sunday Paper? Whether it was her Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Out into the Real World or What’s Heaven, Maria Shriver’s writings have been inspiring me for decades. Yes, an internship with Maria Shriver, please.

Finally, I’d like an internship at Disney. Walt was the ultimate dreamer and it’s been the one place I’ve always wanted to pour passion into and be a part of.

Yep, it’s an intense, heavy, and insanely big reach of a list, which I adore and believe in with everything in me. Remember, this is my whole heart on paper.

When I made the conscious choice to surrender some professional responsibilities for personal choices, I also let go of predetermined paths. I decided to roll the dice so to speak. I knew I’d find the fire or spark the first flame. This is the adventure of a little bit of everything. It’s deciding to do something, or rather many things, and believing age isn’t a barrier but a backbone. It’s exploring and engaging in people and places who do the same thing but differently, which is storytelling.

I’m a storyteller.

Who wants to give an almost 40 year old a shot? What I lack in experience I counter with enthusiastic effort.

While I’m waiting for an answer, know I’m working on the wonder of it all.

Respectfully and hopefully,

Katie Zurich

PS If you’re not on the list, I’m still open for opportunities. Sometimes the best adventures are the ones we unexpectedly stumble upon.