I’m totally beyond-words-awful because I made a promise and didn’t deliver – I’ve just completed the 8th week of my 8-week long internship and I haven’t written anything about it, or the wonderful things that surrounded it. I like to think I’m pretty awesome most of the time, but just not all of the time (clearly).
There isn’t too much I can say about my internship; social media complicates relationships and this is one that I really don’t want to jeopardize. Also, I’m kind of just assuming that if you really like me, we’ve been in contact in the last 8 weeks, and you’ve probably heard something about my internship. I’m just going to jump right in and give you a very non-descript sense of what my internship has been like this summer, and maybe put up a totally separate post about my life as I know it in the great place that is NJ.
My first and second day of work was scheduled to be in our Times Square office.
Look to the right!
Crazy, right? I never in a million years would ever have guessed I’d be working here. It’s super overwhelming and super awesome all at the same time. I had to go through a lot of mental preparation (aka going to the beach every possible opportunity) to ease the anxiety of having to go into the city (the city being NYC, for all my NoDak loves) for work. How am I ever going to function without the beach? I mean, really. UGH.
Now, out of all of the worst first days of work that have every existed in the history of worst first days of work, this one was definitely the one of the worst. I started off by setting about five different alarms.
This was totally real.
Somehow, I still managed to wake up slightly later than my liking because I skipped the second component of setting an alarm, which is turning on the volume. After hastily getting ready, I looked outside. It wasn’t humid, it wasn’t misty, it wasn’t drizzly, and it wasn’t raining. It is down pouring, literally. At that particular moment, all I could think about was how I had never seen it rain so hard in my 22-year existence. Where is my umbrella? Naturally, in the most inconvenient place on earth: outside in my car. Sensing my panic and desperation, my aunt ran out into the waterfall that was central NJ, and grabbed my umbrella for me.
You may recall my reaction in regards to my aunt driving into the city just a few weeks prior to this; from this you could correctly infer that driving myself into the city wasn’t (still isn’t) an option. Back in Fargo, I don’t use public transportation ever because it just isn’t necessary. Insurance isn’t outrageous, car maintenance isn’t pocket draining (usually, unless you have a stupid Eagle Talon, Plymouth Breeze, or Toyota Corolla), parking is always available (except in the winter when parking lines cease to exist and people just “wing” it) and FREE, and there isn’t much of a “commute.” Public transportation is very much a real, necessary thing here in NJ/NY, however. I had no idea what I was doing (and still don’t, I might add) so my dear, sweet uncle patiently helped me (meticulously) go over the whole ‘bus’ thing over, and over, and over (and over) again. Plus, he was cool enough to give me a ride to the bus stop the morning of at 6 a.m.(you rock, Pat!). Once I got on the bus (which was late), I quickly found an empty seat then spent the next 45 minutes watching people put on make up, sleep, and play WOW.
The rain caused a bit of a delay for the bus so I was very pressed for time when I got into the city. For your general knowledge, know that the bus ends at this really magical, dirty place called “Port Authority” aka “Port Autharity.”
Port Authority aka “Autharity”
I knew that the office was only a block up from Port Authority, but since I consider any and every direction in front of me to be north, that prior knowledge didn’t really help me at all. By this point it wasn’t down pouring anymore, but instead flash flooding. I strategically pulled out my IPhone for directions, but it was raining so hard it was impossible to read the screen. I got lost (shocker, I know), but eventually made it to the office only slightly LATE. I probably should have kept up with writing because I don’t feel like I’m accurately portraying how absolutely mortifying it is to be late to your first day of your “big kid” job. Also, let’s just add in the fact that I looked like a drowned river rat by this point, and weighed an extra ten pounds just from wearing sopping, wet clothes. Like I said, mortifying.
Luckily “on time” here seems to be a little bit of a different concept than “on time” in the Midwest. There were quite a few people who walked in even later than I did, so at least I didn’t look totally awful. We did the whole introduction thing, where you’re from, what school you go to, blah blah blah.
**Side note: Nobody here inherently knows what I mean when I say that I go to school at “NDSU,” and as I’ve learned it is a mouthful to have to say “North Dakota State University” all the time. Plus, I say something more along the lines of “Nort’ Dakota.” Bring your whole self to work, right? I also say bAg & flAg and I eat hotdish.
I got into the elevator with ten other people (who were all dead silent) when all of a sudden Iggy’s Fancy started blasting through my headphones. Kind of awkward. Kind of very awkward.
Despite how cute I wasn’t looking, I still had to take my badge picture. I was hoping I could negotiate getting a new one, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I spent most of my internship refusing to show anyone (even though I looked super tan in the photo). I can’t wait to turn it in and never see that particular picture of myself again.
In the NYC office, each elevator only goes to certain floors to maintain efficiency (I’ll argue that it is only efficient if you know what you are doing, and there aren’t instructions). To get to the floor I needed to get to, I had to switch elevators three times. I think almost all the interns had the same problem. I think back and laugh at all of the employees who probably hated their jobs that day because of the interns clogging up and incorrectly using the elevators. I imagine their thoughts were something like “OMG. Isn’t it obvious that to get to 3 from 23 you have to take Q to 5, switch banks, then take M to 3. These interns, ugh!!”
Next was lunch. Another intern and I ended up going to the cafeteria together, because we both had no idea what we are doing, and being a part of a group that has no idea what they are doing is more comforting than just feeling stupid on your own. We got to the cafeteria and there were tons of people to help us figure out what we were supposed to do. We asked where we needed to go and the person helping pointed us in the direction of one side of the cafeteria (which was in and of itself, completely overwhelming). After sheepishly putting six pieces of lettuce on my plate and grabbing a bottle of water, we headed to the check out line to find out that we were on the wrong side and the free intern lunch was on the other side. Once again, so glad I wasn’t the only one who was given the wrong instructions. They ended up letting us take our not-free lunches for free, because they could probably physically feel how embarrassed we were.
By the end of the day, I met quite a few cool people and had a fun time being a terrible bowler (we had a social bowling event) at the end of the night with all of the other interns. My aunt had some business in the city that day, so after what felt like the world’s longest first day, I at least got to ride home in a comfortable car. I’m spoiled, I know.
Unfortunately, on the way home I learned that my grandfather had passed away that day. Just in that one day, I had a pretty all-encompassing slap of real world-ness.
Day two was more or less the same, but slightly less rainy and dramatic. I had to take the bus home this time, and my fear of getting off at the wrong stop was completely legitimized; that experience has forever scarred my (already terrible) opinion of public transportation. Luckily my aunt was working from home that day and was able to pick me up from the wrong bus stop. Once again, I’m spoiled.
The rest of my week (and future time unassigned) was spent in my home office in Iselin, NJ. There are two major things that I discovered this week. The first was that commuting is a real thing. In NoDak, commuting is the 15-20 minute drive you have if you live in Fargo, work in Moorhead, and the roads are pure ice because it’s winter. In NJ, commuting in the hour+ it takes you to drive 20 miles to work if you accidently left the house 5-10 minutes later than you planned. The second thing I discovered was that the first people you sit by really become you’re good friends – you know, something someone with a normal college experience may have learned four years ago. Better late than never, right? Proximity and friendship is totally a sociology study too, b-t-dubs.
That week was pivotal in my NJ experience. I met one of my best friends Joe, the coolest kid I know. I can’t really sum into words what his friendship means to me. Super shout out to you, Joe!!
Also, I ended up going out to dinner with these kind-of-awkward-kids I met at my work table, and now 8 weeks later I can’t imagine having a better group of friends to intern with. That dinner was kind of the launching point of our (my? Not yet sure is the feeling is mutual, ha) friendship. Who would have ever guessed that anyone out there shared the same affection for CB as me…and who would have ever guessed that this lovely lady knew all the words to Eminem’s Rap God? We were meant to be friends.
As the weeks went by I learned all sorts of cool big kid work things. My mentors were awesome. The work was challenging and interesting. I got assigned to a really great client and learned more in my time with them than I’ve learned in my four years at college. Honestly, the hour commute to and from really didn’t bother me too much. As long as I can continue to sing to myself like an idiot in the car, I’m totally cool with it.
My favorite event I took part in this summer was working with my Aunt in the NYC office during her Rutgers’s Future Scholars presentation. Here is a link with more information for those of you who are interested! We got to work with the kids during team building activities, give them tours of the NYC office (which was a total guess for all of the NJ interns…fake it until you make it is the only way to describe navigating the NYC office), and talk to them one-on-one about our experiences and our educational decisions.
Another super fun event some of the interns and I took part in was something called the “Foodie Game Show.” We basically played a bunch of different food related games (such as eating really terrible chocolate and trying to guess what was in it, and guessing the sodium content of spam) and decorated a cake. Did I ever mention how fun accounting was?
All of the interns ended up becoming really close over the course of our internship (or, I at least I did since I don’t have other cool Jersey friends). Here is a picture of all of us…Jersey interns are literally the coolest interns. Literally. This was all of us at our IILC conference in Disney, an event worthy of a separate post.
Jersey does what Jersey wants
I became super close with this other lovely lady. If it weren’t for extremely severe dehydration during our last goodbye in Florida aka “Flarida,” tears would have been shed.
In a quick summation, I learned a lot about assurance (saying I work in assurance often leads to a better first impression than saying I work in audit. Please don’t hate me.) I got a little bit better at public transportation (but I still refuse to go into Penn Station by myself). I also tried a million new things like cigars, Dunkin Doughnuts, the NYC subway, and “Taylor Ham.” It’s not bacon, it’s not Canadian bacon, and it’s only available in Jersey (because leaving this state wasn’t hard enough already).
Taylor Ham or Pork Roll
It was without question the best internship I could have ever taken part in. I was so afraid of having another bum “finally-out-of-Fargo” experience. You know, the one where you finally get out, and it doesn’t work, and you have the shame and embarrassment of having to start from square one? I know it all too well. I’m more than excited to say that my golden ticket out could finally be my one-way ticket out.
On that note, I want to take a little time to explain something. In no way, shape, or form do I feel as though Fargo is the ninth circle of Hell (although, I often use that as reference when explaining what the winter is like). It is a great place if you haven’t lived there your entire life. Living in Jersey made me feel totally and utterly lost, but in the best kind of way. It made me realize that who I was in Fargo isn’t who I’m supposed to be, and it certainly isn’t who I am going to end up becoming. I finally got an experience similar to what normal university-attendees get. They leave, they make friends, it works for them, they don’t want to go back home. I finally got to be who I wanted to be, even if it was just for a short three months. I connected with people whose goals and ambitions are on track with mine. I learned that I can strive for more than mediocrity, and not feel ashamed or pretentious. I’m going to be a totally different person when I come home…a super aggressive driver who is kind of confrontational and pronounces all of their “or” words as “ar” words (in case you haven’t noted the pattern yet in this post. Also note the words “ar-ange” for “orange” and “harrible” for “horrible”).
I’m definitely going to yield less to other people for the sake of avoiding confrontation, and if I am being completely honest with myself I actually will probably be a more aggressive driver. I always jokingly try to be confrontational, and it works for like, two seconds and I just start laughing and/or apologizing. For example, when someone takes my spot at the airport, or splashes dirty Disney land water on me, I start pointing at them and dropping the “r” sound off my words and swearing at them…then I start to laugh and everything I say totally loses validity. “Oh yea, you’re really going to kill me? Okay, NoDak.”
Don’t worry, I’m still going to get pale in the winter and eat hot dish and say uff dah & you betcha & oh.
You can take me out of ND, but ya know you can’t take da ND outta me.