At the end of my first year of college, I had the intention of flying back home, seeing my family and friends, and relaxing after a hectic year. However, the universe (and my parents) had other plans for me. I ended up obtaining a summer internship with Northwestern Office of Undergraduate Admission, and eventually a job for the school year. I was excited, but also very nervous. I was mostly feeling anxious about living alone because I had never truly lived on my own before. Yes, I had just spent an entire year away from home, but I’d had the luxury of living in a dorm surrounded by other students, security guards, etc. For the summer I planned to live in an off-campus apartment with a friend who also was doing an internship at Northwestern. As the summer approached, I had growing doubts and questions: was I making the right decision? Would I be home sick? What would I do in Evanston besides work?
All these questions and doubts faded away when my summer began. One of my main concerns was if I would still be able to have fun while working the internship, but I ended up meeting and hanging out with other students who were on campus. I was even able to see some of my friends who lived in Chicago. I got to experience Chicago in the summertime, which is as beautiful as everyone says it is. I attended a Harry Styles concert, experienced Lollapalooza, and spent afternoons at the beach. I even explored new Evanston restaurants, went to Taste of Chicago, and visited the Art Institute.
Not only did I have a lot of fun, I also learned what it was like to truly live on my own. One major thing that I had to get used to was buying groceries and cooking for myself. Certainly there were days where I gave into the Burger King on Clark Street or the Lou Malnati’s on Sherman Avenue, but when I did act like a responsible adult, I learned to cook easy, healthy meals. Another thing that I realized about living on my own was the responsibility that came with being completely unsupervised. In my dorm I’d had RA’s and campus security to watch over me, but this time it was all on me. My roommate and I also made sure to keep tabs on one another. We would text each other when we went to and from places and shared our locations with each other.
Being in Evanston over the summer was a great experience, but I also encourage students to explore other places by studying abroad. Northwestern offers various programs during both the summer and the school year that allow students to go to super cool countries. I was able to get professional experience with my summer internship, but study abroad allows students to get credit for classes.
Overall, my summer in Evanston/Chicago was unexpected but everything that I needed. I gained a sense of independence and confidence moving forward into the adulthood and had a lot of fun in the process!