The past three months I’ve had the time of my life. I got to work for one of the best role models in my aspired industry, I explored so many parts of the city that opened up completely new doors for me, and I became incredibly more street smart in the process. I cannot put into words how great this program is and how the entire experience blew my preconceived notions out of the water in all the best ways.
I will attempt to tell you the three best things about my time in Chicago. The first of these was my boss. I was truly blessed to have crossed paths with this young, smart, confident, professional leader. She took a chance on someone who had little to no experience in the branding industry and, thanks to her, I now have such a good understanding of what goes on “behind the scenes” in athletes’ lives. She taught me how to be confident and put the client first and she helped open so many doors in the professional world. Less than halfway through the program I found that I could call Lauren my friend and my boss. It was a perfect combination of the two which she exemplified that has left me with the best internship experience I’ve ever had.
Another one of my top three best things about Chicago Semester is the experience I had living in the Gold Coast neighborhood. The location of my apartment building is, in my opinion, perfect. The rent was reasonably priced and the location was amazing. My commute to the lakeside trail took less than 4 minutes, there was a taco restaurant two blocks away, and if I wanted to go anywhere else (which I obviously did often) access to the red line was two blocks down the street. Which is also a bonus to this list because I never would have thought I could navigate the public transportation system as well as I do now.
Lastly, this program introduced me to a side of metropolitan life that I never would have gotten to experience without taking a chance on Chicago Semester. Compared to Central College and the town of Pella, the two are like night and day and I love every bit of each of the areas. I was able to go into this huge, diverse city knowing almost no one and barely knowing those I had previously met. Being able to throw myself into a risky situation like that in a Chicago will help me in so many other endeavors I will have down the road, both personally and professionally.
I had someone ask me if this experience has changed my mind as far as what I want to do in my professional life. I told them that it has not change what I want to do, but how I want to do it. The experiences I’ve had and the people in this company that I’ve been able to look up to for guidance have taught me truly valuable lessons that I will carry with me for a very long time.