Interning or working in a big city may seem like a dream come true for many but over the past few weeks I have learned that it takes some adapting before you can fully thrive. I have lived the majority of my life in my cozy Southwest suburb of Chicago so on my first day of interning I had full confidence in my abilities to navigate the city since I had visited there often.
I was wrong.
There is a huge difference between visiting the city for fun with friends and interning independently in the city. I have not only learned a lot about marketing and social media through this internship, but I have also learned how to become a true Chicagoan. Thus, here are my top three tips for interning or working in the city of Chicago.
1) Know your Metra and L route for commuting.
It takes an hour Metra ride and a 45 minute L ride to get to Logan Square for me, so it’s always an adventure. Yes, I have been guilty of getting off on the wrong L stop a few times and having to Uber to work just to make it on time. I have also spent nearly 20 minutes trying to figure out how to buy a Ventra card. My advice is to map out your L route in maps on your phone. Also, take the time before the first day of work to go to the L station and buy a Ventra card.
2) Don’t forget your laptop charger or other necessities for work.
It’s never fun to get to work and open your laptop just to see that you have 10% left on your battery, then finding out that you left your charger at home. A laptop is essential at the Brynn Capella office with all the Photoshop, Excel, and other programs that are utilized on a daily basis. Thankfully, Brynn or the other interns have a charger to be borrowed but this is not always the case. Also, don’t forget an umbrella that works. I once spent 20 minutes on a rainy day to work trying to figure out how to open my umbrella that was sadly broken.
3) Dress nicely but comfortably.
Always avoid that favorite flowy skirt or dress of yours, at least in the city of Chicago. I have learned many times that walking around in fear of your skirt or dress blowing up is far too much anxiety to handle. Also white pants may look super nice but dirt is a thing! Sitting on that one bench waiting for your L may result in instant regret. After spending 10 minutes cleaning them, I set my bag on my lap and had to spend another 10 minutes because I didn’t realize I had also set my bag down on that bench. Oops! Also, comfy shoes are a must with all the walking that is bound to occur in the city.
You will thank me later for these tips! But most importantly, my best advice is to take in the city as much as possible! Don’t be afraid to grab dinner or drinks after work with friends. That’s the best part about being in the city.