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So today I got my work permit for the internship that I’ll be starting next Monday as a software engineer intern. Although I go to a private high school, I still had to pick up my work permit at my local high school. And it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

I got up early today. At 9:00 am (Yes, that’s early, it’s the summer) I rolled out of bed determined to call my local public high school to let them know I’ll be dropping by to pick up my work permit. My parents warned that I would be absolutely screwed if I failed to get it in the morning.

They believed that the high school would be closed in the afternoon and closed all day tomorrow. They believed that if I didn’t call before 10:00 am I would show up on Monday to my internship without my work permit and be fired. And I would fail… badly.

Over dramatic? Probably.

So I call at 9:30 am and talk to one of the administrative people. She tells me to drop by and get one from the high school guidance department. Okay, sweet. I ask what their hours are. Of course, my parents were wrong. They close at 3:00 pm, and are open till noon tomorrow (Friday). I smile smugly. I got this.

It’s 11:00 am and I’m getting ready to leave. My dad, who works at home, is busy with a series of phone calls and cannot drive me, so I plan to go by foot. That’s right. I’m 17 and I don’t have my license, or even a permit. Don’t judge me.

Side note: My older sister, 20, is home during the summer and she recently has become addicted to fitness and exercise. She’s been doing pilates every morning before her co-op (a sort of job college students have) and an evening run every night for the past month. And now she’s encouraging me to follow suit. Now, I’ve always been one to exercise. I mean, I like basketball. Does that count? I just lack the commitment, which means every time I go through a couple week long phase of exercising, I usually stop after that. But after a talk last night, I think it’s time to commit and become absolutely ripped, at least for the summer. As my sister reminded me in the words of Ken Blanchard:

There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results

And I’ve been “interested” for far too long.

Now that you have the context, you will understand why I decided to run the two miles to my local high school despite the fact that it was 96 degrees Fahrenheit and humid. For exercise! In hindsight, perhaps I should’ve slowed down a bit.

It’s 11:45 am and I make it to the high school covered in sweat. I’m finally here and I go to the guidance department proudly declaiming that I’m here for my work permit.

She asks for my student ID.

My hand goes to my pocket and I realize that I forgot it at home. I stand motionless for a second.

She asks for proof of my residency.

Nothing. I have nothing. I stand stunned for a minute as she explains to me that I will have to return with these two things.

I slowly walk out the door extremely mad at myself for forgetting those things. But then I remind myself that even if I remembered to bring my passport and student ID, there was no way I would have known to bring proof of my residency as well. Plus, maybe I’ll get some extra exercise now that I have to run back and forth all over again.

As I talk myself back up into a new found level of confidence, I begin running home with a new fervor, faster than before. Too fast. About two minutes later I slow to a walk to catch my breath. Remember, it’s 96 degrees outside.

I resume my run only to find I’m cramping on my left side. The dreaded running “stitch.” I’m forced to walk the majority of the way, only picking it back up for the last few hundred feet. I sprint up the hill I live on and finally get back drenched in sweat and gasping for breath. I know only one thing: there is NO way I’m going to run, or even walk, all the way and back again.

Exhausted, and since it’s half past noon, I serve myself lunch, excited to finally sit down, relax, and eat, and worry about getting the stupid work permit another time. That’s when my dad walks upstairs (he works in the basement), and tells me that he can drive me now, and only now, to spare me from the awful journey by foot. I’m forced to postpone my delicious lunch and grab my student ID, passport, and a random letter from a college to prove my residency (who knew that those college letters actually had a use?!).

We get there several minutes later. I go inside and show the guidance counselor my IDs and proof. Amazing she needs so much proof for a simple summer internship. After filling it out, she hands me my work permit, and I’m just glad it’s over.

At the last minute, however, as I’m about to leave, she says, “Oh dear…” and my spirits drop. Are you serious?! She tells me that I can go now, but I will have to mail her a copy of my birth certificate. My birth certificate! After everything I showed her, I still need proof of my birth place for my teenage summer internship! Not even Barack Obama needed that for his job as president of the US, but, no, I, a teenage kid, needs it for a summer job. What’s up with that?!

Well, I’m just glad it’s over and I finally got my work permit. Things didn’t happen exactly as I expected them to, but when do they? That’s pretty much it for this post… till next time.

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