Friday, June 20, 2014

West Coast, Best Coast?

When I received the email saying I had been accepted into the ASME program, I was bursting with excitement, jumping up and down with my roommates and calling my parents, as so many interns before me have done. But I was doing it from across the pond in London. As the weight of this acceptance began to dawn on me, I realized that spending one amazing summer in New York or Washington, D.C. meant that I would not be spending it in my westerly hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada or my new home in Los Angeles, California, where I attend USC.

Not that it mattered. “It’s summer in the big city! You’ve always dreamed of this! It’s just for a summer!” I told my already-homesick-for-West-Coast-sun self.

So, of course, I accepted the offer and was later thrilled to be assigned to Reader's Digest in New York City. Upon my arrival and subsequent attendance of our two-day, information-packed ASME orientation, my mind was overflowing with thoughts of post-graduation job searches and edit tests and networking techniques. The loudest of these thoughts, however, was the voice in my head suggesting that the opportunities in New York beat out those in L.A. by a landslide.

Though I was born in New York and lived here for the first year of my life, I have always firmly thought of myself as a “West Coast person.” How can you beat the year-round sunshine, mild temperatures and laid-back attitude that Californians are famous for? I had already interned at a satellite office of a national magazine in L.A., plus I could hit the beach whenever I felt like it. What more could I want? It wasn’t until I came here that I realized that there is, in fact, something to that saying—that New York is the media capital of the world.

 Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve spent in New York, the thought of becoming an East Coast transplant has come up often. I love the bustle of the city morning, noon and night. I love that I’m not sitting in hours of traffic to drive five miles every day. I love that you can walk right outside your door to find almost anything you could ever need to buy within a two-block radius. I love that everywhere delivers. Most of all, though, I love knowing that I’m in the place that’s making magazines for the whole country to read. This is a place where people actually do my dream job, where journalists and editors know that they’ve made it. It all happens right here.

 So, every now and then, when I think about moving to New York after graduation, and wonder, “Could I really do it?” my mental reply is, “Maybe,” which for now is enough.

 --Story by Chelsea Stone, University of Southern California, Reader's Digest
--Edited by Jane Claire Hervey, University of Texas at Austin, Reader's Digest

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