What a feeling! I am one of the lucky ones. I feel like there are people that go through their whole life attempting to find what they are passionate about. As a non-traditional student, I was one of them until this summer.
As I began my time here at REI I knew that I was interested in possibly pursuing a career in merchandising, but as the summer concludes I am certain. It isn’t because the tasks are easy or even come naturally to me. I have had to work diligently to further my understanding of the tasks to be done, the market at which my tasks live and the ins and outs of REI’s policies and procedures. I think the most amazing feeling has been that all of the hard work and effort have turned into something that I feel so passionately about. The reason I feel so lucky is because there have been so many times in life that I have pursued something with all of my being and came up with the knowledge that whatever that something was, was not for me. The lesson I learned most from these adventures is that to truly be successful in life you must remain positive, proactive and resilient. I’ve always maintained the mindset that eventually I will find “it”.
As my summer internship begins its downhill slope to its completion, I have never been more certain that I am where I need to be. I would have never discovered this new passion had I waited for it to come to me. My advice to anyone looking for there “it”, is to pursue it with a purpose. From my experience, life typically hasn’t just handed me the things that are the most satisfying and influential, I’ve had to strive to achieve them. Now, my summer may not finish up with a job offer, I knew that coming into this experience. When I say that I now know this is where I am supposed to be, I mean from a career standpoint. Knowledge is power, so no matter how this summer ends, and no matter what the future holds, I will be forever grateful to REI and all of the amazing co-workers I have the pleasure of working with over the last several weeks, for allowing me the freedom and mentorship to make this self-discovery.
If you are someone considering an internship, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, or not sure it will produce the results you ultimately desire, I would say expect the unexpected. As I have stated in the past, your experience during an internship is what you make it. While you are working, learn as much as possible, ask as many questions as possible, and meet as many people as possible. You never truly know what your future holds until you take a leap. So again, if you are wondering if something is a good fit or not, I say to you “why not”.
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.