Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Internship

So, the last summer that I was in college I did an internship at OHSU in Oregon. It was kinda a whirlwind - I wasn't sure I was going to go until pretty close to the time that we had to leave for the trip, so I didn't have a long time to sell my housing contract and pack all the things I was going to take, and store all the things I was going to leave (it was convenient that my grandparents had a big old garage I could store stuff in instead of paying for a storage unit). And then it was off to Oregon!

I didn't know much about the other people who were going - I had only met them for a while in a class that was only day a week for 2 hours, so forgive me for not knowing them. And then, there was one guy who was coming who I didn't know at all because he was never in the class. That summer was crazy. We all came in a huge 15 passenger van that was supplied by the school, and to drive said van you had to take a 'van driving class'. Basically it was just a little thing you sit through that reminds you that big vehicles drive differently than small ones and how when you are in a giant van people will probably try to get in front of you a lot. Anyway, we drove here all in one day and my turn to drive was near the end - so my first time driving in Portland over all the crazy bridges and stuff on all the one way streets was in a huge 15 passenger van. Yay me :-/

That night we stayed in a hotel and then bright and early the next morning we made a quick stop at our new place of work for a while and then we went over to try to make sure we could check into our apartments and unpack and all that. Then we had to go grocery and other stuff shopping - couldn't live without things like shower curtains and the like. It was a long day to start off a long summer. The first week we had a ton of training and that kinda stuff, and then it was pure craziness. We worked 10 long days on, and then 4 short days off, and then 10 on, and 4 off etc etc. You can imagine our enjoyment.

The group was made up of 3 girls and 3 boys. It was me and Leslie, and Jen for girls, and then the boys were Chris and Stuart and Nate. It was originally planned that we would just have the girls live together and the boys all live together, but it didn't turn out quite like that. Jen is originally from the area so she just stayed with her family instead of making anyone have to share a bedroom. Nate had family here as well, I think it was his sister and brother-in-law, so he stayed with them most of the time (although he had his own car, as did Jen, so they both were nice enough to give us rides so we didn't have to take the giant van everywhere!).

Luckily we did manage to get to do a lot of the things that make Portland area so great - we went to the coast, and to Powell's, and to a dragon boat festival, and all sorts of other fun things like that. We also spent a lot of time in our apartments sleeping. Leslie and I made a fort out of the furniture in the living room and left it there for a couple of weeks, and even slept in it at times, which was fun. Jen's family had an extra tv so she lent it to us with some bunny ears so that we could watch tv once in a while (even though it ended up being kinda fuzzy). The boys had a tv too, and an x-box, so we ended up becoming big proprietors of the nearby Blockbuster (which is closed now :( so sad) and watched a lot of movies. We had a whole Alien and Predator and then AVP marathon. Luckily, we didn't stay up too late watching these shows - we were so tired all the time that by 8pm it was already late for us.

I got to know those kids pretty good. We went to the local Ward, but we didn't want to get to know anyone because we didn't really have time and we also knew we weren't staying for very long so we didn't want to get attached. So the 6 of us became good friends - and the 4 of us (not including Jen and Nate) became even closer. We enjoyed our time as much as we possibly could and it was like ... the summer of being super involved with only ourselves. Haha. I liked it a lot but I was definitely glad to get back to normal life when the summer came to an end. (why I came back is still a mystery lol).

From the interns I learned that having a crazy schedule can still be fun as long as you are with the right people and you have a positive attitude. I learned that when you are in a new place you need to make the most of it and explore. I learned that Oregon can get really hot (I guess I didn't learn that from the people so much as the time with the people). I learned that hard work can be rewarding. I learned that different people have different talents - and some people don't have a talent for crazy intense research. I learned also that people can adapt, even if intense research isn't your forte, you can still do good at it. I learned that it is always fun to have a new adventure as long as you have a positive attitude. Mostly, I think a positive attitude is important here eh?

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