This past weekend (my last weekend out in California), I had the opportunity to go up to Napa Valley and Oakland to visit my friend Steph. Steph’s Aunt owns a bed & breakfast, the Oak Knoll Inn, in Napa Valley so I got to be a tourist while still having an authentic Napa experience since I was visiting wineries with the locals. It was a weekend that reminded of my trip to Italy last summer… lots of carbs and lots of wine. (Two of my favorite things!) It was such a great weekend and definitely the best way I could’ve ended my trip out here in California. After Napa we went to visit Steph’s cousin who lives in Oakland, which is right across the bridge from San Francisco. We went out to eat yummy Mexican and went to the local bar where she was able to bring her dog! And I FINALLY got to attend brunch which is something I’ve wanted to do this entire trip!!
My final few days at my internship were amazing. My supervisor provided me with her written up evaluation and on it she wrote that I was “such a joy to be around, her positive attitude and enthusiasm was contagious. Every assignment I gave her was not only completed on time but she often finished assignments before beingwill truly be missed and by far was my best intern over the summer break.” If that’s not a great evaluation then I don’t know what is. I was so happy and proud of myself when I read that and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work alongside such a hardworking and talented person.
Wrapping up our trip, our entire group went out to eat at Moonshadows in Malibu last night… aka a seafood restaurant. And if you know how picky I am you know that I hate seafood. Luckily there was a chicken option which was SOOOO good. I even ate the clam chowder!! Look at me, I’m growing up and trying new things.
As my summer in Los Angeles comes to end, I realize that I am not ready to go home. These ten weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye and I am not ready to say my goodbyes to my new friends and this beautiful state. Throughout my time in Los Angeles I have had the opportunity to see a new world, learn about a new culture and a different way of living, embark on many new adventures, and take on exciting opportunities. While I am grateful for all the new friendships and networking connections I have attained throughout the course of the summer, I am mostly thankful for the wide array of opportunities and knowledge I have been able to experience because of the courses provided by JMU and my internship. I have faced many eye-opening moments about what my future may hold and what type of career I would like to hold further down the line. I have made lifelong friends and cohorts. I have traveled and visited the vast array of people and places that the great state of California has to offer. I have become one step closer to figuring out who I am and what I am capable of.
Before this trip I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after college. While I still do not know exactly what I want to do, I am so thankful for this trip for providing me with career ideas that I had never considered. For me, one of the most beneficial aspects of the JMU in LA program was Seth’s class. Being that I have never considered myself a skilled writer, I never expected to enjoy the writing assignments that Seth assigned to us. However, I found myself excitedly looking forward to what our homework was going to be each week. I loved having to write storylines for reality television, creating television show ideas, and pitching our ideas to the class. I have never enjoyed a class so much – which made me truly consider the idea of being some sort of television writer.
Likewise, I had never considered a career in radio before this program. After interning at KIIS FM, I have truly fallen in love with radio broadcast. I love the way it mixes together music and entertainment news. Because of my extremely positive experience at KIIS FM I have taken on another radio internship during the upcoming fall semester at a local radio station in Harrisonburg. I have also reached out to JMU’s WXJM. I can only hope that my upcoming opportunities in radio will be as positive as an experience as the one I had this summer. Without my experience at KIIS I would have never felt that I could be happy in radio. But now I truly believe I could see myself producing a segment of a radio show and maybe even becoming an on-air personality. I am typically more of a shy, soft-spoken person but working in this industry has truly changed me for the better and I am excited that I am finally coming out of my shell.
I have never considered myself to be a city girl. I was born in a small town in Illinois, so small that I had a cornfield as my backyard. I was raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. I am used to running into my neighbors at the local grocery store. I am accustomed to being in the know of all the neighborhood gossip. I am used to yard sales and book club parties. I never realized that a small town girl could find a place in a city. While I may not be the biggest fan of Los Angeles, I believe with a little search I could find my own neck of the woods. Throughout the summer I was able to make two trips up to Northern California, more specifically the San Francisco area and I finally found a city where I felt like I had found my own neighborhood that I could call home. By finding somewhere I felt comfortable in San Francisco, I have hope that I could find my niche in any city. I just need to know where to look. I need to learn to give places a chance. I may be a small town girl, but I am ready to embark of a new journey and take on the big bad city.
This summer was one of insight and opportunity. Compared to my younger sister (sorry Ray Bay), I have always been the independent one in my family. I have packed my own lunch and done my own laundry since about the fourth grade. Yet my sister is in high school and still has a lot of these things for her. (Granted she is a lot more talented and busy than I ever was at her age.) I openly looked at colleges far away from home and refused to attend an in state school, leading me to attend a school that is five hours away from home. While out here, my father asked me if I missed them. I responded by saying “no more than usual, I’m used to being apart from you guys.” It was during this conversation that I realized that this trip truly solidifies the fact that I am more than capable of moving away from my “home” after I graduate next May. By dropping myself into an unknown land, cross country from everything and everyone I know, I now know that I am more than capable of facing the upcoming chapter in my life and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I am so thankful that I was brave enough to venture across the country to a place that I had never experienced. I have had the chance to meet so many inspiring people who each had their own remarkable stories about how they got to where they are now. I have had the opportunity to become worldlier through my various weekend trips and become more skillful throughout the tasks at my internship and homework assignments for classes. I believe that this was a one in a lifetime experience that I was truly lucky to have. The JMU in LA program is truly a great catapult to get your foot in the door in an industry where it is hard to break and I believe it will affect my future for the better.