By Carolyn Harpster – Director of Public Relations
11 weeks ago I packed my bags and moved to New York City – a dream of mine since
I was 12. I moved into a room (meant for one) with two other girls. One makes sushi
at three in the morning, and the other, well, I don’t even know her name. The air is
dirty, the streets are crowded, the people are rude, the subway is confusing, the rats
are disgusting, I eat ramen every night for dinner, and both of my internships are
unpaid. The funny part is – I never want to leave New York.
From 9-5, Monday-Friday, I am a Volunteer Engagement Intern at the
Police Athletic League, which is NYC’s first and largest nonprofit, full service youth
development agency. I didn’t have the job until after I moved to New York, and I
showed up to my interview a half hour late because I wrote the time down wrong.
I showed up to my boss’s desk in tears, and after my interview she said, “We will
laugh about this later, we want you on board.” We’ve been good friends ever since.
The Police Athletic League hosts all sorts of events throughout the summer,
so I am constantly travelling – to Harlem, to the Bronx, to east New York and etc. It
has been such an eye-opening experience to see the way that some people live. I’ve
been to NYC more times than I can count but have never visited these parts of town.
I’ve met the kindest, most thoughtful people throughout this journey who live for
these kids and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
My other internship is very—different. I do the social media for a life and
dating coach – better known as a “dateologist.” This woman is New York City in a
nutshell – she lives in an apartment overlooking Central Park and has a Chihuahua
named Chelsea who has her own Facebook page. She was an attorney for a long
time until she realized helping people fall in love was far more interesting. I’ve
been having too much fun with this. She hosts “Flirting Parties,” where she takes
women out for drinks, they act like they are just a group of friends, but she is
secretly coaching them and helping them pick up guys. Next week, she is teaming up
with a woman who teaches a Strip Tease class so the girls can practice flirting and
stripping all in one night! I can’t make this stuff up. She is fabulous, and I plan on
continuing to work with her virtually as I make my way back to Penn State.
Both of my internships exposed me to things I probably would have never
known about otherwise. I had two amazing mentors in two completely different
fields and I am going to have a very hard time leaving them. At the end of the day, I
would never want to do either of these jobs upon graduating, but I am so happy I got
to experience the both of them. Internships are so worth it, and I can’t believe I have
two more under my belt.