The past two years has taught each of us much about resilience – both in our personal and professional lives. As we transition to endemic COVID-19, the lessons we learned can be the source for resilience moving forward as well.
Ken Nourse, the most recent addition to the McGeorge Career Development Office, spoke recently to Jade Wolansky (3L) at a recent gathering of McGeorge Sacramento Bar Association Diversity Fellows where she shared her strategies to overcome the cancellation of her summer 2020 internship.
Ken Nourse (KN): Give us the background on what happened in May 2020 – what led to having to search suddenly for a summer position?
Jade Wolansky (JW): I was accepted into the Diversity Fellowship and very excited about starting a paying legal internship at a firm with a good reputation. Although other students were contacted by their host firms about starting, I hadn’t heard anything and decided to reach out to mine. I learned that they were still deciding if they would participate that year. Then, the Friday before my start date, the firm dropped out of the program and my offer was rescinded.
KN: The sudden loss of the internship must have made you feel anxious and uncertain. How did you respond?
JW: Fortunately, I still was able to take advantage of a weekly professional development seminar held by the Diversity Fellows program, but I needed a position for the summer. After giving it some thought and taking advantage of all the resources available to me, including the services and support of the Career Development Office, I realized that I had several other options. First, I knew that Law Review had a Greensheets opportunity available so I applied for that and was able to write about a bill. Another opportunity came to me unsolicited when a professor who noticed my strong interest in a subject asked me to help as a research assistant for a book. I also contacted the immigration clinic for a role that I initially turned down and was immediately accepted for a part-time role there . Finally, I contacted a former manager at a worker’s union where I worked before law school and accepted a pert-time internship. Some of these roles even continued beyond summer into my 2L.
KN: How will you apply the things you learned from this experience in your future career?
JW: I learned to be flexible and that you have to be ready for things to come out differently than expected – be ready for Plan B, C, and D. I learned how to pivot. I also will make sure to take advantage of all the resources available to me, especially my network. Networking is a long-term game and it’s important to show genuine interest in others and their needs.