A Little Feel of ‘The Real World’
I attend the University of Delaware, and anyone that has any knowledge of my school will know that we have an incredibly long winter break (almost 2 months). Now, at first read that might seem great, “No school for almost 2 months YAY!”, but no, it sucks, and here’s why: 1) all of your friends go back much earlier (almost 20 days earlier), 2) if you have nothing to do, you’re bored, tired, and you feel pathetic about sitting around all day doing nothing, and 3) if you sit around and do nothing all day, you are forced to listen to your parents yell at you to get a job, and give you life advice.
Well, lucky for me I have incredible parents who helped me land an internship at TradingScreen, a global provider of electronic trading solutions. And trust me, its not as bad as it sounds. You must be thinking, “Wow that’s rough man, you have to trek to the city everyday and work a 9–5 job for the next month,” but to tell you the truth, its really not that bad, and honestly I couldn't be more thankful for this job. This internship is giving me something that a regular job at a bakery or a country club could never give me, and that’s ‘Real World’ experience. For the last two weeks and the next month, I have the privilege of working with incredible people at an incredible company. And plus, I’m working in the greatest city in the world.
So what exactly does my day consist of? It starts with the dreaded 6am alarm clock. And holy shit is it horrible. It’s honestly the worst part of the day, and that’s kinda good I guess because that just ensures that it’s all uphill from there for the rest of the day.
Now, I don’t actually get out of bed until around 6:20ish, which isn’t good because my train is at 6:43 every morning, and the only reason I even get out of bed is because my dad comes up to my room and gets me up. Anyways, I shower quickly, get dressed, we book it to the train station (usually making it there just in time), and 50 minutes and a nap later we’re in the Big Apple.
My dad and I hop off the LIRR and head over to the Subway, usually missing the Q by a couple of seconds and having to wait for the next one. (PSA: make sure you get on the correct subway. You wouldn’t want to end up uptown on 103rd street when you need to go downtown to 14th street. But that’s just me.) Two stops in and my dad gets off on Canal Street, and one stop after that I get off, “14th Street-Union Square.” Its usually around 8:15am that I make it to Union Square (where my building is), so I have plenty of time to get breakfast and coffee before 9am rolls around.
Unfortunately for me 9am comes around a lot faster than I would like it to. But it happens, nothing I can do about that one. So, I head over to work, get to the 13 floor, and begin my work day. Days usually begin with ‘Hellos’ from people I don’t know and a cup of hot chocolate. I take my coat off, turn my monitors on, and begin with whatever I didn’t finish the day before.
The morning work usually consists of ‘the learning experience’. They tell me what I’ll be working on after lunch (1pm-5pm) and who I’ll be working with, so I spend my mornings trying to retain as much information as I can on whatever I’ll eventually be working on (bonds, geometric series, excel, etc…).
Lunch, thankfully, comes a lot faster than you would expect. Since I have my nose planted on my monitor all morning, I never seem to keep track of time. I look at the clock once at 9am, and then I look up 5 minutes later and its 12:20pm.
Lunch Time!! I haven't met to many people here yet so usually (all the time actually) I eat lunch by myself. Middle-aged business men don’t want to deal with an 18 year old intern. Panera Bread is my 85% of the time ‘go to’ lunch destination, it’s easy, right down the block, and never crowded. The other 15% of the time I either head over to the pizzeria or hit up a street vendor for a nice gyro with rice on pita bread. But wherever I end up I admittedly don’t make healthy choices. Mac and Cheese, sausage pizza, and a street vendor probably aren’t the best solutions.
Lunch for me ends at around 1, maybe 1:15 depending how far I walk to eat, and I’m back at the office by 1:30. After lunch I meet with whoever I was told to work with for the remainder of the day, we go over everything I did in the morning, and then we begin with whatever work he or she wants me doing. That work usually includes cross-verifying calculations, filling out excel sheets and formulas, and every so often I’m told to do some bitch work like shredding or scanning.
From the time lunch concludes until the end of the day feels like a lifetime. The office is quite, gloomy, and everyone looks tired, which makes me feel tired. The work I’m given usually takes the whole 4 hours until 5pm, and it’s boring, slow, complicated math stuff. And math puts everyone to sleep. 5pm truly couldn’t come around any slower. But, just like 9am, 5pm always reaches us, and once the clock strikes 5, my monitor is off, my jacket is on, and I’m halfway down the building trying to get to Penn Station to catch the 5:17 to Cold Spring Harbor, a train that I always end up missing. So I have to wait the extra 20 minutes for the 5:35.
Leaving work at the end of the day and walking through New York City at night is my absolute favorite time of day. Not because the work day is over, not because I get to go home and sleep, but because its New York City, the city that never sleeps. I have my headphones in, The Killers are playing on repeat, and there’s something about the energy of the city, the way it comes to life, that puts you in a good mood.
My train pulls into Cold Spring Harbor at around 6:30, I head home, shower, eat dinner, and watch a couple of episodes of Lost before I get to bed around 10:45 and prepare to get up the next morning and repeat.