This summer I had a 12 week internship in my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. I have lived here since I was four years old. It is located about half hour drive from downtown Phoenix. It features the typical Arizona desert landscape with cacti dotting the earth and palo verde trees overshadowing bushes. Its signature triple heat weather makes living in the desert a very unique experience.
Besides reacquainting myself with my hometown after a five month break, I also had many other adjustments. This is the longest period of time I spend at home during the year. It was difficult getting used to the lack of freedom. Instead of being able to do what I wanted whenever, I had to ask my parents for permission. I had to request to use the car and inform them of every place I was going to even if it was just to a Starbucks or Target. I had to compromise and share the cars with other members of my family. I learned to appreciate the flexibility of my college lifestyle.
Slowly, I did learn how to be grateful for the peace and quiet that Arizona brings. I don’t have to worry about crazy traffic at all hours of the day. I don’t have to worry about natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. I can just take in the beauty that my state has to offer. The sunsets are like no other. Imagine seeing the sunset that lines the Pacific highway overlooking the California beaches everyday but with a permanent color pop filter.
After my trip to visit some college friends in Boston in August, I realized that I am a city girl at heart. I want to hear the honking cars and the bustling sound of people walking and see the night lights. I want to be able to hop on public transportation or easily walk to parks, financial district or attractions. Living in a suburb my whole life makes me crave the city life more than ever. I hope to live in a major city that is not Phoenix post graduation.
I also learned how to be comfortable with myself. I realized that it is okay to take time for myself and to not always be constantly surrounded by people. I did a lot of self reflection and self evaluation. It was this summer when I realized that I did not want to be a biology major any more. The classes were no longer fulfilling and it was causing me more stress than pleasure. I realized that maybe it was best that I changed my major from biology before it ruins my love for science altogether. Through my internship, I discovered my love for computational research and decided that I wanted to switch to quantitative sciences. I was able to rearrange my course schedule and was reassigned a new advisor. Furthermore, I also did research on masters programs and GRE testing.
I also learned the value of friendship. I am so thankful to have friends from both coasts and who knew me at different phases of my life. It’s especially difficult when I am two time zones and two thousand miles away from my college friend group. Phone calls and facetimes make long distance friendships easier.
This summer was an important one, particularly for personal growth. While at times it seems that the three months would never end, I now know to take life day by day and to treasure the little things.