Moving Across the Country: Keep Calm and Intern on

By: Melissa Conrad, Director of Finance

In a world where nearly two-thirds of college graduates participate in at least one internship or co-op, it is increasingly common to feel the mounting pressure of securing an internship during the school year (National Association of Colleges and Employers). The summer internship search is a looming stress for the majority of college students, with dozens of factors to consider when applying: compensation, desire, qualifications, location, experience, the list goes on. As an aspiring communications professional going into my senior year, I decided to shake up said internship search. Location? Not a factor. Cue June 14th, 2014, and I was on a 3,000-mile flight from New Jersey to Oregon for my dream of an internship. intern moving across the country

The applications I filled out during the thick of my junior year ranged in job locations from close to home to flying-required. The farthest of them all, though, was the position I ultimately accepted at adidas America, Inc. in Portland, Ore. Going on my third week of work, I’ve narrowed down the three keys of moving across the country (or just far enough) for an internship.

Embrace independence.

It can be the ultimate anxiety magnet packing two suitcases and heading out for three months on an airplane by yourself in your early 20’s when you’re still trying to figure life out. The plus side is that the anxiety quickly subsides when you realize how liberating traveling on your own is. The world truly feels like it’s in the palm of your hands when suddenly, the bigger picture becomes clear as the experience is much more than a bullet point on your resume. Location relative to your hometown becomes obsolete.

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Be a conversationalist.

You moved across the country — tell others that. Whether it be in restaurants, in the place you are staying, in the social scene, at your internship, on the street; start a conversation. You will be surprised to find out how many people actually DO care about your journey, even if they just met you. The quickest way to feel comfortable in new settings is to feel comfortable with the people you are surrounded by. Put yourself out there and get to know your new “neighbors;” you’ll feel at home before you know it.

Play hard, work harder.

Most will say work hard, play harder. In this instance, though, you are at the bottom of the food chain at your respective company. It can be tempting to take it one step too far in your enjoyment of an entirely new environment. Always remember, though, the reason for your travel at this point in your life: the internship, the work experience, and the intent of setting yourself up for a professional future. Work now, play later, but always embrace your journey along the way.

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