When it came time to decide where I was going to spend my college years, it took a lot of courage for me to leave the Bay Area. I had gone to the same school as my older sister for the entirety of my childhood, but I knew that I had to have my own college experience. As most pre-college kids are told, your college years would be the most important years that would foster your education and bring you closer to ‘real’ adulthood.
I stepped foot on Oregon soil ecstatic, yet apprehensive and anxious, as I didn’t know anyone on campus, and I mean no one. I took advantage of this unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling and decided to face it and conquer all my adolescent fears of ‘independence’. Fast-forward three and a half years, and here I am again; risking everything I’ve known for a majority of my adult life to take advantage of an unparalleled opportunity and blaze my own trail.
The Portland Experience isn’t only an opportunity to ‘dip your toes’ in the pool of the business world, but also an experience in seeking out what you really want out of life and your career. You have the ability to observe how you are living on your own while navigating a new city, and discovering what you like and don’t like about where you work.
Working in an office with a total of seven people in an intimate and open-minded environment has allowed my learning curve to exceed my expectations. Not only am I helping a company market its products and communicate its brand identity, I’m also building my personal brand, or “corporate persona” as author Alexandra Levit calls it in, “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College”. This educational experience is so much more than what meets the eye.
What I have learned within just a week about Portland, collaborating with experienced professionals, and moving into a household full of male roommates has been enlightening, to say the least. It brought me to a level of maturity I thought would be impossible to achieve in a week’s time.