Tag Archives: Preparing to go

From Here to There

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1 Pre DepartureI remember being ten years old and sitting on the carpeted floor of my local library, shuffling through shelves and shelves of travel books (the ones I could reach, at least), flipping to the pages with the brightest colors and biggest pictures: full page spreads of intricately decorated palaces, mountain ranges that reached all the way up to the clouds, beaches painted with sunsets and colorful buildings, and countless other marvelous sites. These amazing places depicted in these books seemed so far out of reach, as if they were on an entirely different world than I was. Never did I think that I would be able to travel to the pictures on the glossy pages and see the world for myself.

Flash forward a few years and I’ve ridden elephants through the forests of Thailand, held tiger cubs on my lap, walked alongside deer in Nara, and witnessed the craziness that is Saint Patrick’s Day in New Orleans. I’m sure ten-year-old Tabby would be amazed at all the wonderful things she’ll get to see, do, and experience in her lifetime, and I’m glad Temple has given me the opportunity to add studying abroad in Rome to that list.

I considered a lot of different options when I started to plan my trip abroad, but Rome was the clear front-runner from the beginning. I’ve always had a passion and appreciation for visual arts and architecture. Throughout elementary school, middle school, and most of high school, I thought I would end up in an artistic field (museum curator was at the top of the list for a while). But things rarely work out the way you think they’re going to when you’re young—currently, I’m studying Statistical Science + Data Analytics and Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. While I love everything about data and statistics, I haven’t left my passion for art behind. I’m very excited for all the wonderful paintings, sculptures, and architecture that I’ll be able to see in person during my summer in Rome.

There’s a lot of pictures from those travel books that I’ve yet to see, but I’m working on changing that. Over 4,000 miles away is a city filled with people I’ve never met, food I’ve never tasted, sights I’ve never seen, the remnants of a history I’ve never known, and a culture I’ve yet to experience. I know the six weeks I’m about to spend in Rome will feel like the shortest of my life, and it is with great anticipation that I mark off the days on the calendar until I’m able to gaze out of my airplane window and witness the Philadelphia skyline disappearing behind me, making way for a new adventure.

Internship or International?

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Jack_Delaney_RomeSS15_bloggerI am a business major and the curriculum demands I take certain courses. Beyond that, I feel like there’s also a standard path I must follow outside of the classroom. I’m supposed get the right grades, join the right clubs, get the right leadership roles and network with the right people. All this leads up to an internship and eventual job offer. I’ve gotten the grades, joined the clubs, earned the roles, networked with the people and landed the internship offer.

But I don’t want an internship this summer. I’m 20 years old and — by the standards of my peers – my rejection of this standard places me behind the ball on the job I’m supposed to land after graduation. I surround myself with motivated people, and nearly all of them have internships lined up for this summer.

I’m studying abroad in Rome this summer. I’m traveling the world while I’m young and can afford (perhaps not financially) to make the mistakes that naive 20-year-olds can make. I turned down the opportunity to intern in a finance position at a highly regarded Fortune 500 company. I would make three times what I made at my old job at a bagel shop and it would look great on my resume. For a few weeks, I had almost signed the dotted line to surrender myself to corporate life before I’m even halfway done college.

All my life, I’ve focused on doing the “right” things for my future. My grades, my extracurricular activities and my college choice were all calculated decisions on how I can achieve some goal I’m not that enthusiastic about. I don’t see myself loving finance. I don’t want to work on Wall Street or crunch numbers for a corporation whose message I don’t support.

All my life, I’ve paid too much attention to what I think I’m “supposed” to do. When choosing my major, I selected finance, not the journalism degree that I wanted (and later added back in).

“It’s fine,” I told myself. “I’ll thank myself later.” It’s not fine, and I’m not thankful. I wish I had spent my time and effort developing myself as a person, not a robot. I would rather see the world than the interior of a cubicle. I don’t fault my friends that are headed to amazing internships this summer. That’s just not for me at this point in my life.

To me, college is about self-discovery. When the dust settles and I’m back in Yardley, Pennsylvania to face another year of school, I can panic about “real life.” Because somehow, spending a summer traveling isn’t “real life.” I view studying abroad as getting a chance to experience another culture, live a whole new life and enrich myself. There are aspects of studying abroad that I will never be able to replicate for the rest of my life. This is truly an amazing opportunity and I could not be more excited about it.

So this summer, I’ll exchange my briefcase for a suitcase and my internship for the experience of a lifetime. My safety net of friends and family will be here when I get back. For the first time in my life, I’m heading into unfamiliar territory.  As I pack my bags to head off to Rome, I am nervous. I have limited knowledge of the Italian language and because I go to Penn State, I don’t know anyone else going. However, in a lot of ways, this adds to the excitement. I know in the long run, it will benefit me just as much as (if not more than) an internship.