5 Reasons To Work States Away From Your Home

5 Reasons To Work States Away From Your Home

Why I lived several states to work for the summer and loved it.
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From late April to early August, I moved out of Georgia to live on a tiny island in Michigan. From my house to where I lived in Michigan, it’s over 900 miles.

To put it in better perspective, it’s about a 15 hour drive with gas stops. The reason I did this was because I found a summer job with my family on an island called Mackinac Island (pronounced mack-in-aw). It’s 8.2 miles around and has outlawed cars (yes, I am serious). The only way to get around is via horse, bike, or walking.

Living states away was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone. Some reasons I feel living so far away for a summer are as follows:

1. The Scenery

The island I worked at is absolutely breathtaking (as you can see from a shot I took while there). Because I was surrounded by water, it was pretty much always a dream. I could hear the freighter horns echo through the island and a few buoy bells late at night being moved by the waves. Not only the scenery, but the weather. In Georgia, it’s always hot and humid in the summer. On Mackinac, it was cool and breezy the entire time, minus a week or two. I was wearing jackets up until late June. Whether working at the same place I did or another place states away, a change of scenery is a perk and is always great to see each day. Experiencing a different climate can also put things in perspective. For example, I was really upset that I was missing out on hot summer days back home but learned to love the daily cold weather. Many places in the United States have various climates just waiting to be enjoyed, and the best way to experience such different places is by summer jobs.

2. The History

The island is full of incredible history that relives itself through re-enactments each and every day of the season (May to October). You can learn about William Beaumont, nicknamed the “father of gastric physiology”. There are cannon and rifle firing demonstrations performed inside Fort Mackinac with re-enactors full of historical knowledge about the war fought there. There’s native American history and lore. If you decide to take the 8.2 mile bike ride around the island, there are signs full of history along the way as well. Just about everywhere has a good amount of history in some way, shape or form. Of course, any place in the United States will have history. Working in a different state allows you to learn more about the history of that place that you wouldn't have had the incentive to learn otherwise. One could even do research on particular places that are hiring (with housing) and see which historical atmosphere is right for them.

3. The Work

Where I worked, my co-workers were the best thing about my summer. I met a girl who is now my best friend and so many other amazing people that made each work day fly by. The work I did wasn’t difficult, but it required patience and focus. Supervisors and even co-workers who had been there multiple seasons were always ready to lend a helping hand. Each day at my job, I got to work at one of five different locations which always made things more interesting. Working states away means you're exposed to new shops you've never heard of, new attractions to explore, and tasty coffee shops to fall in love with. Plus, if you're working in retail, you always get some funny customer questions and requests no matter what state you work in.

4. The People

I know I mentioned my coworkers in number 4, but I want to broaden more about that. Where I worked, we got housing as well (rent came out of our paychecks). Our housing was this big, old house built in 1825. For several months, I lived inside of a historical building. That’s something not many people can say. Inside that house (during this past summer I worked), there lived around 50 people. Living in this house is nothing I ever thought was possible. Everyone just sits out on the porch and hangs out. Some play guitar, some will bring movies for everyone to watch in the common room, and you can easily meet some amazing people sitting on that porch. It’s a very communal house, which originally was a bit off putting but turned out to be a wonderful learning experience and allowed friendships to be created. Every person there was amazing in their own way, even the very few that I wasn't 100% fond of. The island houses some wonderfully helpful, hilarious and kind people. Every place contains wonderful people, but it may be harder to find them in some cities or towns. Working in a different state exposes you to so many different types of people, who can share their culture and humor and stories with you. You may even find your next best friend or signifiant other while working in a new state. It's an experience that's very worth while.

5. The Experience

I don’t think I know anyone who can say that they lived states away for several months to work. I also don't know anyone who has even thought of it or would be willing to. Of course, the job experience is wonderful, but there’s so much else working away from home has to offer. You get to learn a whole new way of life, meet people who might talk a little different (the great “is it called soda or pop” debate I had almost every day), live in a different climate, learn about a new state you would have known little to nothing about otherwise. It gives a completely new sense of independence and is always exciting. I would highly recommend working in a different state, or even a new town, to anyone. Even though everyone will have their own unique expreience that may be different than mine, there's definitely a lot to learn from working in a new state. There are so many positive outcomes from it, and I'm very thankful for the adventure I was blessed to experience.

Cover Image Credit: Ari Lentini

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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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Being Unemployed For A Whole Year Gave Me The Break I Needed To Focus On Myself

This is the formula I need for personal gain from the time I lost working part-time retail.

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So, it's official: according to Facebook, by last week, it has been exactly a year since I posted a message about leaving my second (and hopefully my last) part-time retail job at Staples, where I worked for up to six months right after my first job at Stop & Shop, where I worked for a little over two years. Suffice it to say, I have had enough with retail at that point (at any place other than my dream store Barnes & Noble) among other reasons.

I have been out of work since then for a whole year!

Now, don't take that last statement as one of pure excitement from being out of a job for a whole year, which was not my original plan, mind you. Over time, it has proven to be a double-edged sword for me personally.

At the time when I quit Staples, it was mostly because I didn't have to do any more mundane tasks that working retail (and customer service) required me to do, which all grew to be more tiring and grueling to me. Though I knew I wasn't going to be there forever, I still felt empty and unsatisfied and needed to get out.

That was the same feeling I had while working at Stop & Shop, but at that time, I used the opportunity to work at Staples as my excuse to bolt out of there, thinking that it might get me closer to my chance to work at Barnes & Noble (just across the street) and would somehow get better, since I would mainly be working with office supplies and not with food. However, it only proved to be more of the same.

This time around, my excuse for quitting Staples was that it gave me the opportunity to devote more time to my studies and my family. Although I partially benefitted from this reasoning, I still felt restless with myself and hopeless in my job search that didn't involve retail. While I thought that an internship at a major publishing company would have been great for an English major like me, and to get some cash rolling in after months of coming up nothing, because of frantic prepping for final papers, I missed out on the early deadlines for those internships.

And like hell I'm going back to retail.

So, that left last summer completely wide open, void of any work, which just a few years earlier would have been awesome for me, but the constant reminders from my family (as well as deep down inside) to get out and work as an adult would do kept looming over me and sucking most of any joy that I tried to get out of it. While I did apply (again) to Barnes & Noble and actually got an interview at the end of that summer, I was turned down for someone else, someone with 10 years of retail experience, a fraction of which I had and for which I mostly suffered.

After all this time, I realized that while it was nice not stressing about how my work schedule won't conflict with my school schedule and all the personal time in-between, as well as the menial tasks that didn't do me any personal service won't conflict with my schoolwork, I still needed to keep myself busy but with a job/internship that I actually enjoy and to which I can give my all. This is the formula I need to gain back all the life I lost working part-time retail.

So, now it's exactly a year since I quit my last job (and got my last paycheck) and this time, I will be taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself to me: I went along with SBU's Career Center team to an on-site event at Penguin Random House, where I learned about the different jobs within the publishing business as well as the different deadlines for the different internship programs offered there. I couldn't be more psyched for a working position that couldn't be more perfect for me!

My state of unemployment and restlessness will soon be over!

This long job journey of mine has been a bumpy one, but my perfect fit job is just around the corner and this time, I am not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve to get it. Though there are definitely some things I would've liked to have done differently, while it did take me a long time to reach this point, I needed at least some time to reflect on what I did wrong in my past jobs, as well as my breaks in-between and afterward, so that I'll be more careful with myself next time.

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