From left, Grant Treaster, Paul Budd, Joni Bodnar and Christopher Staley (Washburn).
By Joni Bodnar
Like many 2Ls beginning their summer internship, I was extremely nervous and worried about making a good impression, hoping for that coveted offer of full-time employment at the end of the summer. I was also one of five interns, and we all knew we most likely were competing for a limited number of offers. So, no pressure whatsoever!
I was only two weeks into that “no-pressure” internship when I found out I was pregnant. This was one of the most nerve-wracking things of all to sort through. In a normal job situation, I would simply wait the requisite 12 weeks and then make the joyous announcement to my boss and fellow co-workers that I was expecting. No big deal, right?
Well, a summer legal internship was completely different. I had only three months to show what I was made of, to show that I was a dedicated, driven employee to whom they would definitely want to make an offer of permanent employment.
My baby news created two complications for me. The first one was how to deal with breaking the news. Should I tell them I was pregnant right away so they would not think I was rude when I turned down offers of camaraderie over beers? Or should I try to hide it, and basically fib my way through those first 12 weeks, with false excuses as to why I was not fully participating? This was a real dilemma because the social aspect of the summer internship is a pretty big deal, and I did not want to seem like I was not a team player and lose an offer because I did not fit in socially with the firm.
The second issue: If I planned to hide the pregnancy until I was further along, how would I account for my perpetual exhaustion and the multiple bathroom trips as I dealt with my nausea?
I decided to put my research skills to good use and found out I was allowed to drink 200 mg of caffeine per day. I also looked up every coffee on the Starbucks menu and found out I could still have most grande lattes and be under the 200 mg mark (though it was a far cry from the quad-shot lattes to which I was accustomed).
My internal struggle with when and how to break the news was eventually solved for me when a partner jokingly gave me a hard time for not having a beer at a social function. I was 10 weeks along and had just had a sonogram of my baby a few days earlier confirming her health, so I figured now was as good a time as any to share my news.
The partners’ reactions to my news was better than I could have ever hoped, and I was immediately met with congratulatory hugs and cheers. All my fears about sharing my news were much more trivial than I had built them up in my head. No one even noticed my exhaustion or multiple bathroom trips. I felt so relieved, and I realized that even though this was a summer internship, I was still surrounded by normal people who were extremely excited to share in the joy of my baby news.
— Joni Bodnar is a third-year law student from St. Joseph, Missouri. This is her second post in a five-part series about being pregnant during law school. In future installments, Bodnar will address tackling her fall semester, planning for and delivering her daughter, and returning to school after her baby's arrival. Her first post recounted her reaction to finding out she was expecting a baby during law school.
Labels: career development, internship, Joni Bodnar, law school experience, pregnancy, student life