Week 12: Memories

Despite all the moving around I’ve done in my life, the moment when a great experience transitions into a memory never becomes any easier to swallow.

Today marks my 12 weeks in New York City, interning at Google, and my departure date. Currently sitting in the airport reflecting on how amazing my experience has been this summer and how much of my heart now lives in NYC.

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“God’s plans for you are so much greater than you could even imagine.”

My sophomore year I stuck that quote on my wall. A lot hit me that year and I had been discouraged, yet I wanted to believe so badly that I could fulfill all of my dreams. So I decided to dream big and believe that they could pan out even bigger. This summer is proof of the power of that message–I experienced my dreams and so much more; more than I could ever imagine.

Around the age of 17 I decided I wanted to live in the City. Maybe I watched too many Sex and the City reruns or What Not To Wear episodes, but I loved what New York City represented: THE life. I wanted to strut down the streets with a herd of people headed to my “important” job, grab brunch with my best friends who would be incredibly successful as well, and network with “important” people at swanky evening mixers.  Unfortunately, as an on-air reporter I was basically told this dream lifestyle isn’t possible. The chances of making it to the number one market just isn’t fathomable, especially not in your 20’s, and if by the grace of God you do make it up there you won’t be making enough money to be enjoying THE life. I still knew I wanted to give it a shot. I asked my dad if I could make a “purely educational” visit to New York one spring break to get a feel for life there, instead of experiencing it as a tourist. After mentioning my next option was going to South Padre, he agreed to help me visit my cousin.

The energy of New York drew me in and I decided that I would move there after school—some way, somehow. So when my amazing friend, Chantal (hey girl!), sent me the information about the IRTS Fellowship that offered an all-expense paid summer to students interested in interning in the field of digital media in New York, I immediately text her and said, “That’s me!” I had never heard of such a program and that fact that it existed was already greater than anything I’d ever imagined. There wasn’t even an application fee. So I asked my professor from New York if this program was even legitimate—why hadn’t I heard of it?! She gave the thumbs up and I applied despite the fact that it read, “EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE.”  I had a whole lot of hope in my heart.

I don’t usually put all my eggs in one basket but I ended putting a most of mine in the hopes of the IRTS Fellowship. After getting past the first round of applicants I was accepted to study abroad in my dream country, intern in D.C. and work in Austin. Yet if they couldn’t hold-out until for the results of the fellowship, I declined them. I couldn’t invest in anything else when I wanted to fellowship so bad. Plus my older brother would always say, “Cathryn, I don’t know why you’re even contemplating what to do, you’re going to get the fellowship. I know you are.” After three of the most intense rounds of applications and interviewing in my life, I remember the phone call that I was coming to New York. [[Check out the promo video we made about IRTS here.]]

After I got accepted to the fellowship I was completely set. My dreams were coming true and I truly couldn’t ask for anything more. That’s when I got an email from Google. “QUE?!” I thought. I had forgotten I had even applied and assumed my application had been looked-over past the other thousands of students who were probably more tech-focused. I had learned about Google in my Intro to Technology Management class and applied without any expectation of hearing back—I just really respected the company’s stances and wanted to let them know. But Google wanted to set up an interview.  I called my brother and told him that I probably wasn’t going to do it because 9/10 times they place interns in Mountainview, CA, and I didn’t want to have to make the decision between Google and my fellowship. He got so mad at me and told me I HAD to at least do the interview, I would be crazy not to. I remember he mentioned, “It just might all work out.” After interviewing I received an email that I had been chosen for their BOLD intern program—in New York City. Less than 8% of Google BOLD interns were placed in New York this summer and how I ended up there without even mentioning my fellowship is one of those “gotta be fate moments.” They said I’d be interning for 12 weeks and they despite what they previously put on the application, they would provide housing, so I wouldn’t have to worry about a place to stay after my fellowship ended, and they were paying. After that I decided to listen to my brother more.

My image of New York after this summer is even grander—ya’ll, I have been STRUTTING everyday to work listening to Beyonce, having brunch at all kinds of random restaurants on the weekends with some of my favorite people in the world, and have been invited to beautiful mixers, mingling with CEOs and presidents of companies. On top of that I have made amazing friends, successfully completed my huge intern project, connected with my family, and learned a whole lot about myself. I’m going to miss the opportunities New York offers. The New York Times is a 5min walk from my apartment, NBC headquarters is in walking distance, and even Google is just two subway stops away. And I haven’t been simply gawking at these buildings, but actually going in and shadowing, connecting, and having coffee with the people inside. New York is literally the heart of the industry and it’ll be an adjustment being so far removed. My image of corporate America has also changed due to my internship. I love the untraditional nature of Google and I completely understand why it is considered one of the best places to work. They honestly stay true to their message: experimenting, making mistakes, speaking your mind, taking time for your personal life, and so much more. [[Check out the promo video I made for YouTube Space NYC here.]]

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This post could go on and on  because I have so much to reflect on. I share this post because that quote, “God’s plans for you are so much greater than you can even imagine,” is one of my favorites. Religion aside, whether you believe in God or not, I believe that if you put your heart into something, amazing things will come about–it sounds so cliche, but believe. Since I always enjoy lists, here’s what I have learned to be true this summer:

  1. Life isn’t made up of wrong and right decisions. So just pick one and make the most out of it.
  2. A minor inconvenience today can result in a big payoff tomorrow.
  3. Make it simple but significant.
  4. As well intentioned as they may be, your friends don’t always know best, you do.
  5. Walk with a purpose….or a vengeance : )
  6. Walking with a vengeance will result in your shoes wearing out fast.
  7. Humble people are my kind of people.
  8. Don’t put your problems on others! And don’t allow others to do the same to you!
  9. Your posture is important.
  10. Never take a mentor for granted.
  11. Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.
  12. Live untraditionally.
  13. New York City will change you. It’s up to you whether it’s for better or worse.

Thank you to everyone who has made my time in the City amazing! The encouragement from friends and family here and back home has meant the world to me and I would be foolish to think that I would have experienced this without the help and support of others. In fact, thank you if you’ve read this blog! My time in New York may be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean my summer is! I’ll be taking a week off and them I’m off to Anaheim for the Excellence in Journalism Conference! I’ll be back!

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