Hawkward Thoughts Marimo Balls/Internships

Sun, 2017/10/29

I’ve never been one to be able to keep any kind of indoor plant alive for more than a few weeks, whether it’s a succulent, a cactus, or the like. I’ve always been more drawn towards outdoor gardening, reaping the harvest of my work. However, in the past few years, I’ve become quite fond of a certain special kind of indoor acquaintance: Marimo balls. These little aquatic plants are almost impossible to kill and require very little maintenance. If I could paint a picture of them, I would say that they are like small, richly green, fuzzy mochi balls that hover an inch or so in water. Historically, they are fairly rare formations of moss that form on the bottom of riverbeds in places like Japan and Ireland, where the cool temperatures allow them to take their characteristic shape. My absolute favorite factoid about them is that they can have emotional changes. This is made apparent by how high they float in the water; the happier, the higher. The main factor in what makes them “happy” is their ability to photosynthesize in the moment. The more the sunlight matches their preferred specifications, the higher they float!

Taking care of marimo balls is the easiest part of owning them. Simply put, the water needs to be changed out every couple of weeks. Otherwise, it is completely up to your personal preferences how much and how often you care for them. Their circular form can be maintained by swishing the water in their jar around every so often, and since they normally thrive on the frigid, stony floor of a brisk river, a night in the refrigerator is like a spa day to them. They especially enjoy – as is made apparent by their avid buoyancy after the fact – being rolled around like putty in-between one’s hands under the faucet. They only grow an additional centimeter in surface area every year or so, as well, so their original enclosure, usually a glass jar filled to the brim with water, will never need to be exchanged for the next model up.

In short, if anyone is looking for a cute and easily taken care of houseplant that’s bound to be a conversation starter and is inexplicably simple to personify without intending to, ordering a ready-made and aesthetically pleasing Marimo set would be my best advice.

After you’ve had your fill of working at introductory-level jobs where the motto is “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean,” as it was at many of mine, and you’ve progressed a year or so into your collegiate studies and are now smugly knowledgeable and passionate about your field, it will be time to start looking for a professional internship. For the mean time, I will only talk about the first few steps of getting an internship, primarily because the advice can be quite generalized, but also because it seems to be the most stressful stretch of the job and to some can even be a deterrent to applying in the first place.

I think the first thing that anyone has to learn about sending in the actual resume is that even if you don’t get the job or even receive a callback, it doesn’t mean that after seeing your portfolio, the management had a good, hearty, mocking laugh at it and threw it into the incinerator or pinned it up on the bulletin board as the new office joke. Most likely, they will send you a bittersweet email thanking you for applying and then store your information in a file cabinet for later reference. This being said, you should apply to as many places as you can get the emails or mailing addresses for. They will not block you from applying there again if they happen to not need your skills at that exact moment! If anything, it will make applying there again at a later date much quicker and less emotionally draining.

Do not be so sure you will get rejected from a larger company or firm or be too confident that you will be accepted by a smaller one that you have good connections to. In my last internship, I sent applications to about a dozen different Chicagoland suburban township administrations to try and get a job with any of their Facility Management teams. I was absolutely sure that I would be at least hired by the administration of my home town; I even knew people who worked there. As it turned out, they never even got back to me. Where I ended up that Summer, instead, was with the administration team of Schaumburg, one of the largest townships of Chicago. I had never thought I would have gotten hired by them, yet by the time I was getting ready to head back to school, I was working on projects with the other heads of the departments, had made valuable connections within the area, and had learned more than I had in the previous two semesters of classes combined. In short, cast out as many resumes as you can, because you never know when a big fish will bite.