When I think back over my internship of the past few months, one of the first things that comes to mind is mustard.
Fun fact for you: We have more than 10 local mustard-makers within 100 miles of Portland. Who would ever need to know that, right, unless you’re in the mustard-making business? Turns out an intern like me would need to know that.
And know it, I did. I spent hours tracking down local mustards, adding all of their info into a spreadsheet. A few days later, I drove around the Portland-area collecting the different mustards, getting to know the city better when I got lost (shout out to NE Broadway) and loving the look on the grocery store clerk’s face as he rang up my first six bottles of the condiment (“So, uh…you like mustard?”).
Okay, but I’m not really writing a whole blog post about mustard. It’s more about what this experience reminded me: When approached with the right attitude, learning about something seemingly uninteresting can be a great chance to have an adventure. I think in this case, this was for a few reasons:
- It was an opportunity to test out research skills. I was on a deadline, a budget and didn’t really want to spend time running all over Portland only to find that what I was looking for wasn’t where I thought it was. Successfully collecting research quickly and accurately was important and satisfying.
- It was an opportunity to learn more about Portland—not just about the famous hot dog condiment, but also about some of the restaurants and breweries, as well as where some wrong (but mostly right) turns take you in a slightly unfamiliar city.
- It was an opportunity to think critically about something new. Thinking of different ways to describe 15 types of mustard is definitely a challenge, but a pretty fun challenge at that. Especially when pretzels are involved.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my internship, it’s that you can find adventure in the most unexpected places and that makes every day exciting.