A Gal and Her Home: A Love Affair

I have moved three times in the past year. Yes, you read that correctly. With each move came new experiences, creaks in the floor and a hot water tank that wasn’t quite suitable for my liking. Also, with each move came numerous boxes, pulled muscles and a few times that I mentally said, “I am never doing this again.” But, I did.

My first move was drastic. Within 10 days of graduation, I managed to pack my entire life into a U-Haul, enlist in some strong boys, and drove 222 miles to my new “home.” Stanley and I were in my handy Jeep, my dad was in Stanley’s car (looking back, I’m not sure why he didn’t drive his own vehicle), and my moving army drove the truck that had all of my belongings in it.

If you know me, you know that I am a planner. Spontaneity is not a trait that I possess. I plan my life in 15-minute intervals, and I make a to-do list about once an hour, so this move put me into a weeklong panic attack. In theory, I thought that I did everything in my possible power to ensure a painless move. However, if you know my family, you know that technology isn’t a forte of ours. So, when we got in D.C., my dad, who was driving approximately 27 cars behind us at this point, informed us that he didn’t know how to work his GPS. Pairing that with the impossible obstacle of navigating a boxed truck on Capitol Hill, you can imagine how that move went. Oh, and my dad got stopped by the Capitol police three times and secret service twice. And then it started pouring.

The above paragraph should serve as an indication of how my first year in D.C. went. I lived in a dark apartment with camel shag carpet. In order to fit in the bathroom, you had to turn sideways, and when you washed your face, you would hit your forehead on the mirror if you didn’t back up three inches. And the bathroom was the best part of the apartment, aside from the lack of hot water during the first month. When you made your way to the kitchen, you could touch all four walls by extending your arms and rotating in a circle. Y’all – I am 5’2. Let that sink in. And, our dryer was attached to the ceiling. Not quite sure how gravity didn’t come into play, but it stayed on the wall and I only ruined four sweaters in that monster.

To say the least, my first “home” was not a home, but a living situation that made me miss my home more than I thought I ever could. So, as year one came and went and my lease was up for renewal, I decided that perhaps it was time for an upgrade. I searched for apartments for months, but sadly did not find anything in my price range. I found a similar row house that was much bigger and had updated appliances (I say that loosely). With being a few days away from being homeless, I signed a lease and moved into “The Upgrade.” Something still didn’t feel right, and it wasn’t the fact that my oven did not work at all.

After a month of living in “The Upgrade.” I decided to take a risk – which is not something that planners do. I signed a lease on a beautiful condo and put my apartment on Craigslist with hopes that some soul in DC was looking for a slight improvement from their current living situation. Each day, I showed a new stranger whom I met on the Internet my house and answered each question with enthusiasm the best I could.

“Yes, that is a queen bed. I know the room is so big!”

“The cobalt blue tile lightens the kitchen so much, and it’s great for decorating.”

“Unfortunately, I do own all of the furniture.”

After a few weeks, I was packing up my apartment again. I asked local restaurants for boxes, sold my couches to strangers whom I met on the Internet again (sorry, Mom), and seriously questioned my shopping addiction with each shift dress that I put into a box.

The day before my move, Sally and I picked up our keys, measured our living room and questioned exactly how we were going to move all of our things in one day during a Nationals baseball game. Sweet Stanley assured me that it wouldn’t take too long, but 13 hours later and we finally had finished hauling every single thing to the 11th floor.

Now that I have been moved in for a few days and do not feel like a truck has hit me, I can honestly say that I feel at home in this city. We live in a community that has ice cream socials for their dogs and free continental breakfast each morning for their humans (I guess the dogs could eat pastries, too). We have a rooftop pool where you can see the nation’s capitol in the distance and our kitchen has a dishwasher. It’s the little things. For the first time, I enjoy coming home after work and cooking dinner in a functioning kitchen.

So, here’s to new beginnings and finally having a place that I can call home.

P.S. Even in my luxurious condo, I didn’t have hot water for a day. I guess I am just cursed.

How To Make the Most of Your Internship Once It’s Over

The beginning of August is here, which means that interns will soon be leaving and returning to college.

Personally, I loved being an intern. An internship teaches you so many different skills that you cannot learn in classroom. It gives you an opportunity to interact with coworkers, learn how to handle situations and to understand the workplace environment.

I often see interns stroll in the office, do a wonderful job and then when their internship is finished, they disappear. People, remember this: if anything, your internship should serve as a networking tool.

From a former intern, here are a few steps that you can take to ensure you make the most of your internship once it’s over:

  • Write thank-you notes. This goes a long way – believe me. Before you leave the office for the last time (or if you have already departed, you can mail your note), you should write a simple note expressing your gratitude towards your mentor and/or boss. Explain what you learned and little moments that impacted your internship. You want to leave on a great note, and this is a perfect way to do so.
  •  Secure your references. You should have one person who worked closely with you serve as a reference on your resume. You can also ask them for letters of recommendation if needed!
  •  Check in with your office. Every couple of months, you should email or call your supervisor to see how they are doing and to ask for advice. You can get their advice on your senior project, what type of jobs you should be looking for, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your job search – more than likely, they will want to help you!
  •  Promote your company and internship program. You should let people know how wonderful your experience was and that you still want to be involved. If there are any events that your office is hosting, you should ask to volunteer and bring other students with you.
  • Keep in contact with your intern pals. You are going through the same thing. It’s tough to graduate and move into the real world. You’re friends will have similar experiences and can help you through it and give you advice. I still keep in touch with my “intern union” and we have helped each other through our first jobs, celebrated promotions, and listened when one of us had a bad day.

Being the first one to the office and the last one to leave can be tiring, but your boss will remember the little things that you did. Not only is it important to impress your coworkers during your time in the office but also afterwards. Now, go start writing your thank-you notes!

What advice do you have for students as they finish up their internships?