Apr 052012
Authors: Erin Eastburn

Wednesdays, I’m away from my glamorous high fashion internship, and I’m brought down to reality working the sales floor at Victoria’s Secret.

Being an unpaid intern has its pluses and minuses. One major minus: not being paid, hence my working a second job. But this particularly beautiful week, I had Wednesday off Victoria’s Secret as well.

This was my first full day off in about a month, and saying I was overjoyed would be an understatement.

After working out –– which was also horribly overdue –– I walked the five short blocks to Washington Square Park.

This park is half a block from New York University’s Business School and is full of students, crazy people, performers and dogs.

Since it was 70 degrees, I couldn’t pass up the people-watching and pet research opportunities available.

I picked a sun-filled spot in the center of the park, took out my little black notebook and began taking notes, drawing and scouting for interesting sights.

The longer I sat there, the more I realized how much I was starting to love the city.

I watched as film students shot and re-shot scenes of what looked like a deep thinker, about the love a man had for a woman.

As dogs dragged their owners toward the dog park, I tried picking my favorite. After seeing a Great Dane drag its owner for about 10 feet, I decided that would be my future dog.

But what I couldn’t help thinking about was the fact that this column marks my last day at my internship –– the same internship I have poured my heart and soul into for the past 12 weeks will no longer be a part of my daily life.

When this day ends, it will be extremely bittersweet. Once I walk out of here, I am a free agent, and I can start getting paid for being an entry-level employee. Although I feel very unfinished with this company and am terrified of leaving it behind, I’m starting to enjoy my tasks and heightened responsibility, the people and the company dynamic.

I tell myself that this day is not a goodbye, that I must stay in-touch with these mentors and friends. Plus, after my self-reflection in the park, I have no intentions of leaving this city anytime soon.

What I am nervous about is that my closest friends here in New York –– Grace, Dani and Kaitlyn –– are finishing their internships and are also finishing their time in New York City.

Over dinner, we discussed their decision to leave, and now writing it down has made me realize how heartbroken I am to say goodbye to them.

I am starting to grasp the idea that true friends never really leave your side. I left Fort Collins and some pretty amazing people when I decided to risk everything by accepting an internship in New York.

But thinking about it now, I know the friendships that have lasted are the most important ones.

Everyone has to make the right decision for himself or herself as a graduating senior. This is not the time in our lives to just drift along with the current. Now is the moment in our lives when we can decide what jobs we will pursue and, ultimately, where those careers will take our lives.

For some of us, it might be continuing school by getting a second major or applying to grad school. For others, it might be sending resumes and cover letters to every company under the sun. No matter the direction, it has to feel right for you.

For me, New York is the only place I should be right now. I missed out on some parties this past semester in Fort Collins, but nothing can compare to my amazing and life-changing experience thus far here in New York City.

As a fashion major, the only other city I would consider moving to would be Paris, France. But since I don’t speak the language, it would be pretty difficult to find employment there. So New York seems about right.

For my friends here, returning to Colorado feels like the right decision for them, and I have to respect that choice.

These months to come will probably be challenging, frustrating and maybe a little lonely at times. But I’m risking it to live in one of the most inspiring cities in the world –– which I think I can handle.

Erin Eastburn is a senior apparel and merchandising major who is currently interning for Tory Burch and working at Victoria’s Secret in New York City.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm

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