June 26, 2012 by Danny Anderson
“The Real World”. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been warned about its terrors. How many times have I heard “You can’t be late in the real world,” or “People won’t be as nice in the real world” or “You can’t have pizza for every meal in the real world”. It’s a place that my friends at school and I shudder to think about. Bottom line: Nothing is more of a buzzkill than when someone says “It’s gonna be awful when we have to leave here and join the real world”. Let’s face it, it’s been engrained in a lot of our minds that the “real world” is not a place you want to be. So, needless to say that when I began my internship this summer I was terrified of this “real world”.
This summer, I elected not to return to my hometown of South Burlington, Vermont, despite how beautiful New England, and especially Burlington’s Lake Champlain, is in the summer. No, this summer would not be filled with reunions and late night campfires with those I went to high school with. Instead, I headed out into the heart of the Midwest: Kansas City. Needless to say, Kansas City is a little different than Vermont. For starters, it’s hot … all the time. Second, it’s a city. To be honest, I live in the suburbs but still, between Vermont and Williamsburg, I’ve never lived this close to a metropolitan area. Overall, my entry into this real world has revealed the world’s best kept secret: it’s not that bad. Of course, I’m not fully immersed quite yet but from a working stand point, things could be a lot worse. My job has caused me to realize, the “real world” is not something to fear, but rather something to look forward to.
In terms of my job, I couldn’t be happier. I work for a small Registered Investment Advisor and have been getting a ton of exposure and real hands-on experience. I can honestly say that as an intern, I am truly contributing to their process. Remarkably, William & Mary has really helped me in the regard. The liberal arts education that I’ve undergone thus far has prepared me to be able to skillfully execute a wide variety of tasks, from computer programming to marketing. Overall, working and really contributing has been incredibly rewarding. Sure, getting an “A” on a paper feels good, but it’s nothing compared to being able to put your knowledge and skill to work to really accomplish something.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from wishing away the rest of my college years. I love W&M and plan to make the most of the next two years. However, this expedition into the great unknown has given me perspective on my time at the College. It’s made clear to me that W&M is preparing me for the rest of my life and it’s comforting to know that it’s doing a great job.
Alma Mater Hail,
p.s. You CAN have Pizza for every meal