Next semester I get the scary-cool opportunity to take a break from Vanderbilt’s campus and intern in the campus recruiting department for Deloitte in Chicago. This will serve as my HOD internship, a requirement for my degree program that sort of acts as a capstone project.
If I ever smile and tell you that I am nothing but excited about leaving my friends here in Nashville and attempting adulthood for a semester, I am lying through my teeth. Accompanied by that excitement is a little bit of fear. Fear that I won’t be able to find friends in a setting where my friends aren’t strategically placed in dorm rooms around me to show me Korean pop videos when I’m having a bad day. Fear that I won’t be able to conjure up dinners for myself that aren’t a handful of Peanut Butter M&Ms and a bag of SunChips. (Even though my suite in Lewis has a kitchen this year, I’ve realized that you must actually go to the store in order for food to appear in your fridge.) Fear that I won’t know what I’m doing during my internship. Fear that I don’t have enough cool factor to hang out with young adults in the working world.
Don’t get me wrong. I am FIRED UP about this. My recent Google searches are the true testament to just how fired up I am getting. “Candy shops near Deloitte Chicago.” “Student Discounts Broadway Chicago.” “Adult Tap Classes Chicago.” I spent a good 1.5 hours last night exploring the streets near my apartment and office with the street view on Google Maps. I can’t wait to be a pro at taking the “L” (the Chicago subway system) around the city to my new church or to meet my HOD professor for class every Monday. My mom keeps sending me emails about student discounts at the Chicago Symphony and for fun classes I could take at the Art Institute, which will be right across from my apartment. I’ve decided to treat the next semester as a giant learning opportunity, like a study abroad trip that’s not so abroad. I will be taking advantage of all of the awesome things the Windy City has to offer. I just signed and scanned in a lease for the swanky apartment I will be living in, so that made me feel extra adult-y. I am sure that I will suffer from hypothermia at some point, as my current wardrobe does not include heavy-Chicago-winter articles of clothing. No worries, because my grandparents live 45 minutes away in the suburbs and can take me to the hospital!
As finals week winds down and my suite-mates and pals are gearing up to go home for a restful winter break, I am packing my mini-van up with all of my pots and pans (that I mainly used to fry eggs; I tried, mom?) and sheets and extra drawers to take back home to Plano, TX. It’s surreal, really, because I feel like the semester just began. Whoops, I just took a study break to go through all of my recent Facebook photos to ensure that I did, indeed, have a semester filled with fun activities. The cool thing is that, as I move out, my dear friend Lauren Culbertson will get to take my place in the suite, since she’s been studying abroad in London all semester. Things work out nicely that way, though a year without Lauren has already proven to be quite difficult.
Getting ready to move to Chicago for 3-4ish months has brought me back to the first-year jitters I had about coming to Vanderbilt. Back when “Is Vanderbilt ≥ Home?” was a valid question on my mind, there was no way I could have predicted how strong my Vanderbilt friendships would become or the network of support that would spring up around me during my time here. I’ve been blessed with so much by taking a leap of faith and coming to Vanderbilt, and I expect just as many blessings to come from my leap of faith to Chicago in January.