There are a lot of important components to take into consideration when choosing an internship and job. I have always focused on the obvious characteristics: position responsibilities, reputation of the company, pay, and the list goes on. However, when I first started to intern, which was the summer after my freshman year of college, I did not take an important factor into mind: commuting. I would choose the positions that best suited what I desired in an internship, and then I would worry about the commute later. I have loved each and every one of my internships; however, I wish I had been better prepared for the commutes I had in store.
I am the commuting queen, but I did not gain this title easily. One summer, I commuted from New Jersey to New York five days a week for a position. Another summer, I traveled from American University to Alexandria five days a week for an internship, and I would need to be in the office by 8AM. Last semester, I commuted to Silver Spring from my apartment near campus; however, I had a car, so it wasn’t that bad. This semester, I am commuting a shorter distance by bus.
Looking at a commute of a potential job is important for multiple reasons. People typically just think of time spent traveling to and from work; however, there is more to it than just that. Of course, time is vital. If you have an hour commute each way, what time do you have to wake up in the morning? Are you getting home from work at a good hour? Will you have time to fulfill the responsibilities you have for classes? People might assume that those who prefer to sleep in a little extra in the AM are lazy; however, that isn’t necessarily true. Some people function better at later hours in the day, so they go to bed late, which makes getting up extremely early tough. A long commute probably isn’t the best for these types of people.
What about cost? When I was first offered my internship last semester, I automatically assumed my commute to Silver Spring would be do-able since I have a car, but I didn’t factor in gas money and parking. I ended up saving time by driving, and the cost wasn’t too extreme compared to metro prices, but these are things to take into consideration early on.
Lastly, there is quality of life. It might sound silly, but a commute can really drain a person. Traveling to NY from NJ was exhausting. When I commuted via train to Alexandria, I was always in a rush, and I hated switching lines (less nap time). At times, I have hated my commutes, which made me hate going into work on occasional painful Monday mornings.
However, my passion for my jobs really helped me survive my commutes. You make friends with fellow commuters, you get to greet the Express newspaper man every morning, and you learn your way around the city. And, you value sleeping in on the weekends even more.