Sunday, May 23, 2010

At the end of the reel...

Before posting my last statements on the semester as an intern in New York City, I want to point out that as this reel comes to it's closing begins my next one. While this will be the final post about my will not be my last post on this blog. This just marks the beginning for my next masterpiece.

Bright Lights...Big City

There are millions of lights in New York City, and for each one, there seems to be another opportunity shining. Every door that you walk in, there’s another person worth meeting; every street that you walk down there is another spectacle worth seeing, and every day that you wake up, there’s another path worth exploring. The possibilities in New York City are endless. You can reinvent yourself or find out who you really are. You can try a different style, listen to new genre of music, or visit a traveling art exhibit. You can enjoy the simplest things from hearing young talents in the subway stations playing acoustic guitar, to stepping into self-owned shops in SOHO, to listening the stories of the many trying to make it—there is always something new going on, and most of it isn’t hard to miss.

As I look back, I only question why I didn’t spend a semester in New York City earlier. When I was a junior, I had the privilege to study in Rome and that was a similar scenario—opportunity knocking on every block—but New York City is a different kind of opportunity. It is one with avenues I never thought of exploring. Comedy class on Thursday? Why not? Singing lessons on Monday—okay? New language Tuesday? Sure! Salmon sushi Wednesday? I LIKE IT.

For my final semester at the University of Rhode Island, I am took a break from the books, put away my car keys, and moved away from the dining hall. For my last semester at URI, I am interned in television production—in New York City.

While my school and my supervisor may have controlled my credits and my internship, there was only one owner of the overall experience, and that was me. While the internship was unpaid, as most are, it seems odd that any student would pass up the chance to take advantage of everything that a metropolitan city has to offer. Though the city can be rather pricey, you learn that it’s all about making it work—not letting the city work you. An internship in the city, for a college student, has several perks, making the over-priced omelets completely worth waking up for on a Sunday morning.

The first plus to taking a semester in the city is having the chance to see what it is like to be in the real world. Often times, I am often told that I come off as 23-34, and it’s not that I enjoy growing up fast; it’s that getting to be a part of the working world, and witnessing others struggling in it—or making it, really makes you appreciate the work that each individual does. It suddenly makes sense why someone may be grouchy on the A train—or why someone may not say hello on the streets. Bad days happen. Every day there is a new person you meet who is without a full time job but carries three lower wage jobs – and doesn’t mind it. Other days you meet people who are carrying full time jobs who love sharing their experiences. And some days you just find grace in sitting in a park, on a bus, or in a cafĂ© and seeing the many expressions of those who walk by.

The second advantage of going to the city for a semester is that aside from your own internship, the opportunities of things to do are endless. On a day off, one can attend a free screening of a late night show, stumble upon the filming of a well-known television show or upcoming film, or find inspiration on a new block. The world is at your hands---and though the cold months may make each avenue and street seem a bit longer, the entire city seems to shrink enough to fit within the palm of your hand.

Third, and finally, the connections and networks that you can become part of are like a massive Charlotte’s Web—every strand or person connects you to another helpful and stable strand or person. Everybody knows somebody, whether it is in independent small industries or huge corporate ones—there is always a name to contact or hands for a resume to go into. Before long, you become part of that network, receive new projects, and become a connection for someone else.

While the city may not be bank account friendly, nothing—anywhere--comes free, so one should take the leap and dive right in, because New York City is one of the only places where every penny spent is one that is completely worth it. An internship in any big city, away from your home university, is like a semester abroad—foreign and rewarding. And not to worry if one of those millions of lights goes out—because another one begins to shine.

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