This is my six part summer spanning two coasts and two continents. It began in Boston College, shifted to Northeastern University, migrated to California, and ended in London. This is how it went…
Part 1: Sophomore Year Ends
- Writing a twenty page international studies research paper on how levels of materialism differ in highly developed countries wrapped up one of my most challenging and most rewarding semesters of college so far. I worked harder than I had in previous semesters, but I also spent a lot of quality time with truly wonderful friends.
- After reflecting upon the undue stress I placed upon myself academically throughout the semester with one of my mentors, I came to consider how my gpa is neither the best nor the most valuable measure of who I am. I do not need to prove to anyone (even myself) that I can get a 4.0. Rather, I should think carefully about what I sacrifice in other areas of life when I strive for “perfect” grades. This sounds obvious, but it is easier said than done.
- When all was said and done, I had about a full week free of responsibility after school ended and before my internship began. During this time, I basked in the sun and read for hours. It was glorious.
Part 2: TJX Buying Internship Weeks 1-6
- After wrapping up my duties as a Resident Assistant by checking seniors out of their dorms post-commencement, I moved into my new Northeastern University apartment on Huntington Ave. In these first few weeks, I quickly learned that living within walking distance of the MFA, Fenway, Newbury Street, and Copley Square with the Green and Orange Lines at my doorstep epitomized the phrase: Location, location, location.
- I went into my merchandising internship at TJX, a global retail corporation, knowing I did not want to work there. Rather, I wanted to learn as much as possible about retail on such a large scale and about working in a pretty traditional corporate environment. Although I went in with an open mind, the notion that business truly is about the bottom line was resounding. Also, I found that I did not mesh with the fact that their culture placed a premium on extraversion, so anything less than interjecting myself into conversations could tarnish my personal brand.
- Outside of the 9 to 5, I really enjoyed having a routine of going to the gym before work and cooking dinner after. Cooking for myself in particular was one of my absolute summer highlights. I even took a Knife Skills class at Sur La Table to hone in on some chopping techniques I was previously lacking. Have you ever thought about how moving vegetables around your cutting board by scraping your blade dulls your knife? I sure hadn’t, but now I know to use the back of my blade instead!
Part 3: TJX Buying Internship Weeks 7-12
- After an honest midsession evaluation with my manager, my internship experience rapidly became more enjoyable. I was on a team with dominant, extraverted personalities in a department that was having a tough time. This combination, plus my inexperience with the corporate environment, nudged me back into my shell. Still, I laid it all on the table with my manager and expressed how I felt like no one had tried to get to know me and that I was too often left with nothing to do. She immediately assigned me a continuous independent project, took the time to ask me more about myself, and admitted how she might have made a mistake in the instruction she gave the team before I came. She told them to act like “business as usual” but should have said, “This is probably our intern’s first corporate experience, lets welcome her and make her feel like part of the team.” Those directives set vastly different tones and the latter would have made a world of difference. Nevertheless, I am so grateful to have learned so much about the professional world and who I am/who I want to be/who others are in it.
- Over July 4th weekend, I visited Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard for the first time with a few of my roommates. We stayed in Hyannis where I was blown away by the beauty of the hydrangeas and where I was surprised to learn it was the home of the Kennedys. Then, after driving through miles of quiet beach towns, we reached the effervescently artistic P-town, a popular destination for the LGBTQ community. Our final stop was a ferry ride away from Falmouth to the famed Martha’s Vineyard. It lived up to the hype.
- In the two subsequent weekends, two of my best friends from the Bay Area graciously visited me in Boston. Although this meant walking throughout the whole city two Saturdays in a row, I loved seeing Boston through their fresh eyes. And we ate some very yummy food (Veggie Galaxy’s BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich, Broken Grounds’ Strawberry Fields Acai Bowl, Barcelona Wine Bar’s Patatas Bravas, and bychloe’s cupcakes).
Part 4: See You Soon BC
- With my twelve week internship wrapping up with an intern group presentation on targeting the Millennial parent, the time came for me to pack up my life. This was quite the feat because I had to determine what would stay in Boston, what would come with me to California (and eventually, London), and how everything would get to where it needed to be. All I can say is that I am glad that process is over. We made it through.
- My internship ended on a Friday and I flew home on a Tuesday. I intentionally gave myself these few days to wrap up my time in Boston and say goodbye to friends I wouldn’t see for another year. I ended up having some of my favorite days of the summer. Life is so meaningful when you spend quality time with quality people.
- At the end of my first summer spent in Boston, I can definitively say that Boston—not just Boston College—feels like home.
Part 5: Back to the Bay
- Before I went home, I challenged my family to eat a whole foods plant-based diet during my 3.5 week stay. I even created a meal plan and promised to be their personal chef, thus removing any potential room for excuses. Perfection was not my expectation, but effort was. And I’ve been really proud of their effort. At the very least, they have been 90-95% plant-based since I have arrived, which is amazing given that only weeks ago they were daily consumers of meat, dairy, and eggs.
- Our biggest outing was to Point Reyes. The trip consisted of a lot of driving along excessively windy roads. I probably felt car sick for a solid six hours the Sunday that we went. Yes, it was nifty to visit the foggiest and second windiest place in the country, but I think I’ll stick to the Muir Woods next time we’re feeling an outing north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Home is comfort. Time does not exist at home. My messy room, along with all the other footprints I leave, are merely temporary. At home I bask in the beauty of doing nothing. Sleep. Exercise. Cook. Eat too much fruit. Read. Repeat. I couldn’t do this everyday, but I will make the most of it while I can.
Part 6: To Be Discovered in London…