Just like that, it’s over.
My summer in New York was quite possibly the fastest ten weeks of my life. It seems like yesterday that I was pulling my hair out trying to find a place to live, scouring Craigslist and a host of other sites for an apartment that was accessible and that I could afford. That hunt took place back in May; now it’s August, and the summer is just about over. But what a summer it was.
Spending ten weeks as a finance intern at a Fortune 50 company is an intense, fast-paced experience. Pfizer is a company I had wanted to work at for a while. Over the course of the summer the MBA interns were given the opportunity to meet with executives at the company to learn about their careers and to engage them in Q&A. One of the highlights of my summer was getting to ask CEO Ian Read a question, which was a huge thrill. Additionally, the interns were assigned a case study that required talking to people all throughout the company in many different functions. It was a great way to meet employees we normally wouldn’t interact with, and learn about the industry in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
I didn’t intend to leave Boston for my summer internship, but looking back I am happy for the change of scenery. I will always love Boston, but sometimes you don’t know how much you love something (or someone) until you are away for a period of time. In New York I was able to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in years – and in one case, since high school. Although I wasn’t able to walk around the city as I would have liked, it was still a rewarding experience to meet up with friends, even if I kept meeting up with everyone at the same bar around the corner from my apartment. I gave Tuttle’s a lot of business.
My time in New York was not without its frustrations. The first couple of weeks were extremely rough logistics-wise. Any time I am thrust into a new situation where I have to learn a new routine, it is a difficult transition for me. I got lost a lot inside the building, which added extra steps to my day and tired me out. My original desk was far away from the bathroom, my boss’s desk and the elevators. Fortunately my desk was moved and I was able to settle in and relax.
On the other hand, I am happy that I was doing all this walking in a new environment, in a new city, with new streets and experiences. If I have to walk constantly, I might as well be exhausting myself somewhere new and exciting. As a whole, I walked a lot this summer, and its unclear what toll it will take on my body. I was sore and stiff for many days after I left, and it’s just now starting to subside, two weeks later. I am not sure if further weakness will replace the soreness, but given my past history, it probably will. I still feel wobbly walking down the street, which is a little unsettling.
But, as I’ve written about countless times before, I have to get used to the uncertainty that my body throws at me every day. I have to be comfortable with the fact that doing something as simple as going to The Guggenheim now requires an hour of planning and costs much more now to experience (once you factor in the cab rides). This is how my life is, and I have no choice but to accept it. Fortunately, I’ve become a logistical expert through trial and error.
So, given how the summer played out, would I do it all over again? Absolutely.
I made many great friends in my ten weeks. I had a wonderful boss and was surrounded by supportive admins who never hesitated to ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. My friend and classmate Matt joined me at Pfizer this summer, often carrying my lunch on his tray. Many of the other finance interns showed the same willingness to help. We became a close-knit group, and will definitely keep in touch going forward into our second year of business school.
All in all it was a great time. I am back in Brookline now, relaxing before classes start back up on the 31st. I am confident that my experience has prepared me well for the future, which at the end of the day is all I could have asked for in an internship.
More importantly, I proved to myself that I can handle the challenge of living in New York City. It has chewed up and spit out many people, and for the first couple weeks, I was afraid that I would be one of them. Over time I adjusted, and I thrived. If this disease has shown me anything, it is that the toughness I am required to possess on a day-to-day basis just to function in this world makes the toughness and grit required to live in New York pale in comparison. I can handle this city just fine.
School starts in less than two weeks; life is moving at a tremendous speed. Change is constant in my life, whether it’s new classes, a new city, or my declining strength. Deep down I wonder what it would be like to have a stable, predictable life, but I am starting to believe I wouldn’t enjoy it. I can deal with the fast pace of life as long as I continue to find meaning in my struggle, and am surrounded by people I enjoy spending time with. My disease is a major source of aggravation, but it may very well be my path to living a greater life.
On to the next challenge: figuring out if I have it in me to root for BC football.
Some views from the 32nd floor of the Pfizer building: