My Next Great Adventure Has Arrived

Today marks the beginning of my next great adventure. I thought it would be appropriate to start this blog by providing a bit of background on my past and how I found myself riding life’s wave to REI’s corporate headquarters in Kent, Washington.

In 2005, when I started a career as a Forward Observer in the United States Army, I had a plan. I wanted to serve my country for four years, and then utilize the G.I. Bill to continue my education and achieve a Bachelor degree. However, an opportunity to live in Europe changed my plan, so I extended my contract, packed my belongs and headed to Italy. Living in Italy was an amazing experience. Being able to completely submerse myself into a culture like the Italian culture, is something that I will absolutely never forget.

In April of 2012, after two deployments, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, my life completely changed. I completed my service to our amazing country and set my sights on a college degree. Two years later I found myself at the University of Arizona having just achieved an Associate’s Degree and ready to conquer the world.
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As I started my senior year I was extremely anxious. I knew that the first semester was make or break for me. See, most companies work diligently to acquire interns and new-hires before the new year. As the semester started I was attending as many company events as possible. I applied and interviewed with several organizations before finally receiving an offer from REI to become a Merchandising/Buying intern for the summer of 2016.

Today is two days before I begin the 1,616 mile trip to Seattle. As I continue the adventure that is packing, I have very mixed emotions. I am excited, motivated, eager and thrilled to have such an amazing opportunity to learn and apply my education at a company that has a purpose and values that align well with my personal interests and values. On the other hand, I also have a high level of anxiety, nerves and butterflies about living in a city I have never even visited. Additionally, the realization that I will be judged and critiqued for the next ten weeks on my ability to work effectively and learn efficiently has me feeling a bit overwhelmed.

In life we find ourselves at crossroads, that when you stop and think about it, could affect how you will live the rest of your life. It is an amazing feeling to realize that the crossroads is in front of you prior to actually making your decision, obviously this is not always the case. I have decided that the anxiety, nerves and my reservations about putting myself in a position to possibly fail and look stupid, are not enough to keep me from this unbelievable opportunity.

As this summer continues I will be updating readers on my experiences at REI in the role of a merchandising/buying intern. I will be updating the blog weekly and will try to keep the it as honest and authentic as humanly possible.

I am an eight year veteran of the United States Army. I served my country as a Forward Observer during two tours - in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am a senior at the University of Arizona and will be graduating December 2016 with a B.S. in Retailing and Consumer Sciences. This summer I'm working as a Merchandising/Buying intern at REI's corporate headquarters in Kent, WA.

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