I Commuted A Total Of 25 Hours Each Week Over The Summer For An Internship

I Commuted A Total Of 25 Hours Each Week Over The Summer For An Internship

Spoiler alert: I knew the best things in life are worth fighting for... and I want to do it all over again.
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It was a Wednesday night at around 9:15 p.m. when I started throwing my belongings into my black sack of a bag and threw my hair up into a ponytail after a long day of working my hardest to keep up with the people around me.

One of my coworkers looked at me with fatigue in his eyes and said, "Wow, I can't wait to go home," and of course, with agreeance, I couldn't relate more. He then asked me where my home was in a sense of small talk.

"Brick, New Jersey," I said. "Do you know where that is? It's right by Point Pleasant or Seaside Heights... you know, the shore."

He had a complete puzzled look on his face like he couldn't quite figure out not where I was from, but why I was here. With a tilt of his head, he asked me how long it would take me to get home.

"Well, if I can make this 10:05 p.m. train at Penn, I'll be home around 1 a.m.," I said.

And that's when everyone left on the floor looked at me in complete confusion. I could already read what was going through their minds: what is this 20-year-old girl doing traveling 3 hours at night by herself for an internship.

Let me explain it to you.

From the age of 13, I knew I wanted to be a journalist.

I wanted to do something bigger with my life than sit in an office crunching numbers and I never had the stomach for becoming anything in the medical industry. I wanted to become a voice for the voiceless ever since I started watching the news.

To make a long story short, last year I applied for an internship in New York City at CNN and although I knew it would be a hike and a half, I also knew that it was something I could never turn down.

I'll never forget the moment I read the email that said I was accepted. I think I cried for an hour before finally calling my incredibly supportive parents to tell them the news: I would be working for my absolute favorite broadcast news company.

When I came back from my school that summer, I prepared myself for what I knew would be an intensely long, but completely fulfilling summer. I bought a whole new wardrobe, perfect for NYC summer weather and sophisticated for the office. I purchased my NJ Transit train tickets in advance and had a few extra bucks to reload my MetroCard for the distance between Penn Station and Columbus Square. And most importantly? I bought the biggest bag of coffee I could find and a travel mug big enough for at least two cups and some cream. I was ready.

My days looked like this:

7:30 a.m.: My alarm would ring and I would start getting ready for my day, packing a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course, made my hefty cup of coffee.

8:30 a.m.: Catch the 8:30 train that never quite ran on schedule, always coming anytime between 8:25 to 8:45, so you can bet I was always there beforehand unless I would take the 9:25 and risk running late for work.

9:30 a.m.: Make my layover train in Long Branch, which would take me to Penn Station.

11:30 a.m.: Sometimes 12 p.m., I would arrive at Penn Station where I would either decide to walk from 35th to 59th (if it was closer to 11:30, not 12 because it's quite a stretch) or catch the Subway heading uptown.

12:45 p.m.: After either trek, I would finally make it to the Time Warner building that housed CNN and head up to my floor, getting my ID checked once and swiping it three times before finally making it to my desk.

1 p.m. to 8 p.m.: I worked on anything and everything they asked of me. It was honestly the best part of the job because I was able to interact and learn from so many different people. Because of this, I learned that my future job aspiration would not be reporting, but production.

8 p.m.: I would head down to set where I was the mug girl. You guessed it, those mugs sitting in front of the news hosts? They were set there by interns. For the show I was working for, that intern was me. For the rest of the hour, I would run scripts, get mic sets, and once again, do anything asked of me.

9 p.m.: Head back up to the office and start packing up.

10:05 p.m.: Catch the train heading back to "Shore Points."

12:05 a.m.: Take the layover to get to the train that would take me home.

1 a.m.: Get off the train and jump into my car that would take me home.

1:15 a.m.: Finally get home, take a shower, and get to sleep. Set my alarm for 7:30 a.m. and do it all over again.

I was getting roughly 6 hours of sleep a night unless, by some magical power, I would get to come home earlier the night prior and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It was taxing. Waking up started getting very difficult towards the end and I could feel myself getting colds more frequently, but I refused to give it up for anything.

I commuted roughly 25 hours each week, which consisted of me on a train either watching download TV shows on Netflix from my tablet ("Bloodline" was often my show of choice) or read books. I plowed through 14 novels that summer and filled such a mundane time with stories of adventure, love, and sometimes murder.

So what was I, this 20-year-old girl, traveling by herself at night for? Well, I was living my dream.

I would walk home to the sight of bright lights. I would skim past Times Square and would sometimes catch views of castmates side-dooring after their Broadway shows. I would be among the many other bustling New York workers: something I always longed for.

One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was the morning trains. The train cars would consist of a hundred middle-aged men, slumped in their seats reading the morning paper or resting their eyes with headphones in their ears. And me. This little, young adult lady who was thriving at the thought of making it among the big dogs.

The conductors began to know me and would always make sure I was in the safest, quietest car after a long day of work. A fight in car 3? Well, car 5 only has 3 people so I should go there. A baby crying in car 7? Well, car 1 only has a young couple sleeping at the very back. They looked out for me and I will never forget that camaraderie.

That summer was not conventional. I didn't lay on the beach all day and I barely saw any friends. I was constantly exhausted and there were times that I wanted nothing more than to sleep in on a rainy morning and spend the day watching movies from the comfort of my bed.

But I knew my dreams called not from the comfort of my sheets, but in the streets of the big city.

I commuted a total of 25 hours each week over the summer for an internship at CNN in Manhattan, and I want to do it all over again.

Cover Image Credit: Eutah Mizushima

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My First Year Of College Wasn’t Great And That’s Okay

I didn’t adjust as well as I thought I would, but I made it.

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Everyone always raves about how much they loved their freshman year of college. The independence, the parties, meeting all these new people from different places. It's a big milestone in your life. But not everyone has an amazing first year. And I'm one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I was so excited about college. Finally getting to be on my own, experiencing all these new things. I even met people in my class before we moved in. And the first month was a blast...but then it wasn't anymore.

Eventually, I slid into this “funk", you could say. I was depressed. I never wanted to leave my bed. Some nights, I didn't even wanna eat dinner. And soon, my friends noticed but soon just stopped inviting me out.

At first, they still would, even though the answer was always no. But I guess they got bored and tired of me always saying no.

Soon, I didn't feel like I even had any friends and at one point, I even found myself debating going home to avoid being alone in my room all weekend. I would force myself to make plans, but found myself not wanting to go out because I got ignored every time I did. It wasn't worth it.

I was homesick, isolated, and just wanted to fit in.

When the year finally came to an end, I couldn't be happier. But now that it is over and I'm home, I realize how much I miss the people that were there for me. The people that came into my life unexpectedly, but it was hard for me to really recognize they care about me.

I absolutely hated my freshman year of college. Yeah, it started out good and I found my sorority, but I never felt like I was wanted anywhere. I felt so alone. I became so incredibly isolated and distant and it took a drastic toll on me as a person.

But in spite of all that, I realize that maybe that's how it was supposed to happen. Because I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all play out.

This being said, my first year might not have been what I thought or hoped for. But I can truly say I am excited to see what my next year holds.

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