For some college students, summer is a time for catching up with high school friends and family and going on fun, spontaneous adventures with your friends. For others students, it’s a time to gain professional experience in a field of work they’re extremely interested in, maybe even in an area of the country or world that they’ve never seen before.
Summer 2019 was the latter of the two options for me. Spending time in a small town in West Virginia named Beckley was life-changing. A place where it rains more days of the year than even Seattle, an area riddled with poverty from the post-coal depression, and the site for an International Boy Scout Jamboree. Spending time away from home can be tough, and it was, but forcing myself out of my comfort zone made for one of the best summers of my life.
From late May to early August, I interned with the West Virginia Miners, a summer collegiate baseball team, as the Director of Multimedia and Broadcasting, Assistant GM, and Assistant Director of Baseball Operations. A mouthful, I know, but the experiences I had with players from all over the country—and even just the game-day staff for the team—are uncountable. I keep in touch with seven different people from the summer on a daily basis, from the team athletic trainer to one of the team’s best players. Whether it was a 10-hour charter bus ride back from Normal, Illinois, or just going to lunch with the whole team, I grew to love the friendships I developed with these players, all of whom have the same goal as me for the summer: to better our craft. While the players worked on drills, I worked on pitching ideas, writing stories, making videos…You name it, I did it.
Being extremely busy with the team left very little time for exploration of the surrounding area, but I did get to go white water rafting while I was there. If you have never done it before, I highly recommend doing it. Whether it was being on the raft with nine other people including the guide, just floating down the river, or if it was paddling for our lives so we don’t get caught by the rapids, it was one of the most enjoyable things that I have ever done, and everyone should do it once.
This whole experience came from one thing: wanting to gain professional experience and push myself out of my comfort zone. It may seem intimidating to leave home for a summer, but if you think it will make you a better professional and person, do it.