This may be a really long post, just warning you all. So as many of you know I have spent my summer in Chicago interning and getting a taste of what the real world is like. It has been an incredible experience and summer for me. I feel as though I have grown up, but also realized that I still have so much growing to do. It has been weird being on my own, pretty much completely alone, but Chicago is a place I feel like I could be on my own and still have fun.
I moved to Chicago in June. I didn’t know where pretty much anything was. I barely packed any clothes. I was living with my very best friend from high school and I am forever grateful for that opportunity. I started my internship, not knowing any one that I worked with and not knowing how to even get to the headquarters on the first day. 10 weeks ago I would have told you I was super nervous to be coming to such a big, unfamiliar city, but now I am the complete opposite.
The first day of work I could probably name 1000 things I was nervous about, whether it was the train ride, learning about my job, meeting the other interns, riding in an Uber alone, going to the wrong building, wearing something too fancy, wearing something too casual, etc. Like I said literally anything. But I did it. I made it through the first day and had fun, learned about the company, met other interns, and was actually dressed perfectly fine.
Training was the next week after the first day orientation. Training was kind of a rough patch for me work wise. It was hard to meet other interns when we were pretty much in “class” all day. I didn’t have many people to sit with at lunch because many of the interns already knew each other (most are from the Chicago area). And apparently everyone I met the day before was working in a different office than me. I came home relatively discouraged each day, excited to talk with my high school bestie. Towards the end of training, I finally met some other interns who I started eating lunch with and talking to. It was a huge relief for me because as much as I wanted to say I didn’t care, I did feel kind of lonely at work.
Once my job actually started, things really started looking up. Things were still new to me, the other interns were still relatively new to me, but it was a lot better. Lucky for me, I got to sit in a cubicle with 3 other interns who I got to know over the course of the summer. I am really thankful for them because they were friends to me when I really knew no one else in the city. I received projects to do each week, which was nice and allowed me to learn something new each week. I really loved shadowing coworkers. It was cool to see how different people managed their days, but also cool to see different departments. We had a lot of intern events, whether it was visiting partners, going to professional development days, or other fun things with the other interns. I was able to learn a lot and do things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do with other internships. For example, I got to learn all about creating a better LinkedIn from employees from LinkedIn. I got to tour Google and it was as cool as you would expect (really freaking cool). I didn’t even imagine getting these types of opportunities so I am really thankful.
Beyond working all summer, I tried to maintain a social life and explore Chicago. If you have read any of my Chicago Food posts you know I have been eating my way through Chicago. I have enjoyed trying new types of food this summer (Go read the posts if interested!). I would say I know my way around the city now. All of the exploring, getting lost, and mapping my way through the city has paid off. I understand the transportation in the city (even the buses I swore I would never take). I honestly love the trains (shout out to the red line and the brown line for taking me everywhere this summer).
My friends have come to see me more than I expected. I actually blogged about my friends and sister visiting if you want to check those out. It was amazing having those so close to me come to visit. It made me feel so much more at home, but also allowed me to take them every where.
Now for some things I learned this summer… I am proud of myself. I should continue to say yes to things. Being positive in the workplace is the best way to energize others and yourself to work hard and enjoy work. I like some alone time, but not too much (I love being with others). I have to stand up for myself. I like waking up early for work. I really like ramen. In order for me to live in Chicago after college, I need to save a whole lot of money. I can improve my blog and the Instagram that goes with it. Always be willing to help others out. Never be afraid to talk to people (I met a super nice lady on the Megabus). Put effort into things, you don’t always have to finish first. I like working out, but have lost a lot of my passion for running. Being in your 20s is tough, a lot is changing, and you have to be ready to adapt and move forward. It is ok to go out to eat alone. I love LinkedIn. Shop at Aldi, you can save sooo much money. Put yourself out there. Be spontaneous, you can’t plan everything. I don’t care to pay for things like clothes, shoes, etc., I would rather pay for experiences.
I probably have so much more to say and this was a little random, but I can always make another post. I am so grateful that I got to spend a whole summer in Chicago. I missed my family and friends, but appreciated their support more than they will ever know. This summer was not all easy for me, but it helped me grow up a bit more. Every day is a chance to learn, and that definitely held true for me this summer.