Things big kids do: the summer internship

In terms of documenting things big kids do, I thought it might be helpful to discuss our experience with the summer internship. As has been the case with my older girls, I often feel like I'm reinventing the wheel with each new stage of their lives. And how silly -- these aren't the first kids to get their driver's license or a summer job or leave for college, but when I consult the world wide web about these big kid issues -- the Internet can be suspiciously quiet.

Bueller? Bueller? (That's what I mean by quiet.)

The How: Our kind neighbor gave Maddie the heads up on a possible internship opportunity. We were all "NYC? Wow! Ooh! Aah!" And then when Maddie actually got the internship in NYC, we were all "Wow! Ooh! Aah! WAIT . . . does this mean my baby has to live in NYC by her lonesome?" It was true. They did not provide parent housing as part of the internship. This was a serious bummer. But we persevered.

The where: After many hours of Internet research, we narrowed Maddie's housing choices down to the dorms at NYU or International House, a dorm-like residence very close to Columbia. Maddie eventually chose I-House because they offered single rooms, and we were unsure about going potluck on a roommate. 

The when: Maddie's Internship ran the first week of June through the first week of August. This seemed to fall in line with other interns she met while in the city.

For the mommas: I flew to New York with Maddie because I wanted to check out her living arrangements for myself. The area was quiet and her dorm was well-secured. Even so, there was no one to notice if she arrived home after work, so if I hadn't heard from her I texted an "are you alright?" message before I went to bed. I also tried to make her promise not to go out by herself after dark, but she didn't obey me on that one. Can you even imagine?

As for the specifics, I asked Maddie a few questions. Here are her answers:

What was it like living by yourself in a strange city?

At first it was really scary and lonely. I didn't know anyone! But once I started meeting people at work and at church, I felt more comfortable and less nervous. After about two weeks I definitely felt more at home. By the end, I hated to leave! As for I-House, it was really nice to have my own space. However, I never really met anyone socially at I-House, so it was a little isolating.

What was your first day of work like? Were you nervous?

My first day was training in New Jersey (not in my real office). The training was organized and I was with hundreds of other interns, so I didn't feel too uncomfortable or nervous. The second week I started at my actual office on Times Square. I'm not going to lie -- it was a little gut-wrenching to walk through those doors. I had know idea what I was getting myself into!

Did you make friends? Where did you meet them?

Yes. I became good friends with all of the interns in my department because we spent so much time together. I also made really good friends at church. It was nice to have people to explore the city with on the weekends. We even went to Philadelphia for July 4th. 

What was your favorite part of the internship experience?

It was cool that we worked on real, legitimate projects. The company could have just given us filing or copy work, but instead we got real actuarial experience. Being in the city was also a great experience -- there were so many new things to see (exhibits, restaurants, shows).

What was the worst part?

Getting around NYC took forever! The subway was so hot, and I wore heels to work which made the commute painful at times! I really missed just jumping in my car for a quick trip to the store. 

Favorite places in NYC?

Times Square (where I worked, Broadway shows), Brooklyn Flea, Jacob's Pickles (fave restaurant), Central Park, Jin (ramen place near my room)

From the mom perspective, I can tell you that this summer was a huge confidence booster for Maddie. She's lived and worked on her own in New York City, which makes a lot of other "firsts" pale in comparison. And lucky girl, she already has plans to return to the city next summer. Maybe this time she'll take me with her!