Honest Advice From a Perpetually Unpaid Intern

I just gave advice to an IC senior and now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I’ll let you see our little exchange, minus her personal details of course. This is what happens when you ask for advice from someone who has no idea what she is doing!

Hi Emily, 
My name is _______ and I’m a senior at Ithaca College. I found you through our mutual connections. I’m reaching out to you because I was wondering what made a fellow Parkie move all the way to Seattle? I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and would love any insights or advice you could provide to another Ithacan. Thank you! 

* * * 

Great to hear from you! Are you thinking of moving to Seattle as well?

I moved out here for several reasons, but the impetus was that nothing was really going on for me at home. I spent a year in Ithaca after graduating, just waiting tables and hanging out. I applied for jobs all over the country, but nothing really came of it. I didn’t want to be stuck in Ithaca, or back home in Buffalo, just because I didn’t already have everything figured out, so I left.

I did do research, and Seattle is great for a lot of reasons. Very importantly, the job market is pretty good. I got a waitressing job on my third day here, have since left, and now am working at the front desk of a hotel. I really don’t know how to get jobs that aren’t customer service/hospitality-related, but at least there are jobs!

I also have a media and outreach internship with YES! magazine, a really great, positive, progressive magazine. It’s an unpaid internship, but I think they are sending me to a media reform conference in Denver next month so opportunities definitely abound.

I can’t exactly give job advice, because all I ever do is work at restaurants (and now a hotel) and all my communications experience has been via unpaid internships (this is my fourth). But maybe this is the “new economy.” Other than that slight frustration, Seattle is wonderful. The winter is much better than an Ithaca winter, that’s for sure! I see sunshine all the time, the city is walkable and green, there are great parks and the city picks up compost along with trash and recycling.

So let me know if you have any specific questions or anything, but I guess my “advice” would be to just throw yourself into whatever you want to do and worry about the details later. That’s kind of how I do things. Maybe you’ll just eat ramen for a while and walk everywhere because you can’t afford the bus, but you will survive!

One last thing: my senior year I was living in a big house on Green Street with four of my girlfriends. It was a wonderful, magical time and I miss everyone dearly. That was probably the best, happiest house I will ever live in. So treasure your friends and your last year at IC! It goes so fast.



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About Emily Suggests

Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugarsticky girl shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother.

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