On May 17th, my twentieth birthday, I left for my summer internship and Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship in London. On the plane I watched “The Vow” and cried so much you’d think I had just woken up from a crash induced coma. Five days ago I left London and returned to New Jersey after 3 months of living abroad. On the plane I watched “Titanic” and was so emotional the man seated next to me felt the need to fetch a box of tissues from the bathroom. While I didn’t discover how to control myself in depressing movies, I did learn a lot of other lessons from my summer in London. So although this advice won’t help you get through “Sophie’s Choice” or “The Way We Were” (side note: you don’t have a soul if you can watch either of those movies without shedding at least one tear), you might find it useful in other aspects of your life.
Get to know your co-workers. I spent the majority of the summer interning at a small academic publishing house in London. Working there helped confirm that publishing is definitely the field I want to go into. Working there also helped confirm that academic publishing is definitely not the kind of publishing I will be going into. While I couldn’t have asked for an internship that taught me more or allowed me so many responsibilities, I quickly realized that 9–5 is a long work day when you aren’t friends with your co-workers. Maybe it was the nature of our work, or maybe it was the varying ages in the office, but the company I worked for wasn’t the most social. Which is totally fine, but it definitely was a little bit of an adjustment as I was used to the boisterous, fun environment that was Admissions_Daniel’s office. As the summer went on I found myself longing for my Hopkins co-workers, JHU_Kate, JHU_Nick and JHU_Allysa, and wishing I had made more of an effort to get to know my current co-workers. So my advice is be friendly and inviting right from the beginning, or else you are going to be in for some lonely lunches.
Reading material is essential for commuting. Last summer I commuted into my New York City internship from my house in New Jersey. The commute was short enough that between my iPod and a little napping, I was there before I knew it. My commute to work in London this summer was a different story as my office was on the opposite side of the city as my flat. Shuffling my iPod quickly got dull, and I took a queue from the hordes of Londoners around me and invested in some Tube reading material. By the end of my internship I had made excellent headway on my summer reading list, including rereading all seven Harry Potter’s, a biography of Catherine the Great, Les Mis and the first four Game of Thrones. In conclusion, make use of your commute!
Arrested Development is the greatest show ever. Enough said. How I only discovered this series this summer is beyond me.
Spend time with your extended family. My Uncle Joey and two cousins Ellie and Lucas live in London, and while we see them as often as possible, it’s usually just limited to a once a year get together. However this summer they were kind enough to let me live with them the first month and a half I was in England, and I couldn’t ask for better or warmer hosts. I loved getting to know my cousins and uncle better, and having such a wonderful home to come back to definitely made my transition to life abroad as smooth as it was. I always knew I have a wonderful family, but living with my cousins reminded me of that fact day in and day out.
DISCLAIMER: It is my brother Simon’s 18th birthday and I promised him I would mention him in this post. Love you Simonster.