So instead of concluding the summer blog postings with a teary farewell and a summer summary, I’m going to get down to the facts. No doubt I’ve grown in maturity and awareness in the past two months, but in light of practicality and consideration of the audience’s interests, I will skip the internal insights (much of which you can find among other great posts on this blog), and skip ahead to the things I had to learn from experience in the last eight weeks,
Duke Student '16
- Buying anything from District Market is money unwisely spent. It is, as university grocery stores go, more on the expensive side, and with all the eateries and grocery stores within walking distance, there is never a need to buy food from there…unless perhaps you are in a hurry to grab breakfast before an early group weekend outing.
- Go to as many farmer’s markets as you can. Go even if you don’t want to buy produce. The atmosphere at each farmer’s market is unique, vibrant, and exhibits the pulse of Seattle – not to mention the delicious local samples and hip vendors!
- Download the Yelp app. It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from, you’ll find that food in Seattle. Food is EVERYWHERE. It would take you years upon years to sample all the restaurants in the UDistrict, nevermind all the cities (i.e. Downtown and International District). You can spend less than $10 on any meal, sample international cuisines, and wherever you are, food is never more than a 5 minute walk away.
- For transportation ease, download the Uber, Lyft, and OneBusAway app. You get your first ride free off of both Uber and Lyft (cab services), prices are infinitely better than traditional cab company fare (get an Uber from the airport if you can). OneBusAway will tell you every bus that goes to each bus stop and how long it will take to get there. Public transportation is a breeze in Seattle.
- Learn how to cook. Here’s the time you’ve always complained you didn’t have. It’s summer, you’ve got a kitchen and grocery stores at every corner, now is your opportunity to learn some life skills (and save your money!). Go to the Goodwill or Dollar Store (couple minutes by walking) nearby and pick up kitchen utensils. I saved $800 dollars this summer by cooking, you can too.
- Set up a Groupme and do things together. You’re in Seattle, you’re all from Duke. Make friends, set up events, and be sure not to leave anyone out, ever.
- Check TheStranger regularly (http://www.thestranger.com/). This is your guide to all the events in Seattle (Seafair, Dragon Festival, Polish Festival, Seattle Pride Parade, Capitol Hill Block Party, Outdoor Movie Screenings, etc), take advantage of it!
- Get to really know your supervisor, and I’m not just talking about sterile work conversations. Ask them about their school, why they are doing what they do, their future plans, their goals, their hobbies, etc. Getting closer with your supervisor will develop a stronger relationship between the two of you, and you’ll find that you’ll be given more responsibilities and opportunities at your site because of it.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to a friend, coworkers, or the site coordinators about your troubles. If you ever experience anything you see at work or in your life that makes you uncomfortable, you should really share your views/thoughts with the people you’re working with. The other interns, your site coordinators, and the people at your site placement all can be considered your family unit, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and to confide in them.
- Appreciate all your weekend and weekday group activities. They have all been carefully planned out months in advance by Emily Durham with the site coordinators, so each event has a purpose and deeper meaning. Be ONTIME to each event and come always with questions and the eagerness to listen and learn. At the end of the program, try to connect all the group events together and see a pattern underneath all of them.
- Take the extra step. Grab any opportunity to get more involved with your community partner at all times. Go to that weekend event, stay for that afterwork office party, attend that lunch and learn session, sit in on the department meeting, substitute for an absent coworker, ask for more things to do at work, get to work early, take initiative to go the extra mile.
- Get a library card. With the one of the best city library systems in the country, you’d be a fool to not read this summer. There are branches in every neighborhood, and requesting a book usually takes no longer than two days to get from one branch to the other. This summer I’ve read at least two books a week, on topics ranging from philosophy, food politics, and pharmaceutical companies to cancer biographies, leukemia nonfiction, and psychological abnormalities. Welcome to real life, where you can read books for fun.
- Climb a mountain. Or two. With mountain ranges less than an hour drive away and hiking/biking trails around every corner, why not? Ask your alumni partner to take you hiking, and trust me, it’s what they were doing that weekend anyway. And the view is irreplaceable.
- In fact, while you’re deciding to eat organically and climb mountains, might as well go on a whole new fitness regimen. Kayak down Lake Union, swim in Lake Washington, go on a ferry to an island, run a scenic trail through the city, volunteer at a farm, go blueberry and blackberry picking. Summer in Seattle is your perfect opportunity to invigorate both your mind and your body.
- Keep an open heart and a patient mind. You will see and hear things in Seattle that will make you upset, depressed, frustrated, and hopeless. Remember, you are there to serve the Seattle community, keeping an open attitude and a constant level of respect for both the people you are serving and the Seattle community around you will both enrich the work you do and test your maturity level. If you have strong feelings about something, remember that you can always talk to friends, site leaders, and your supervisor.
- And no matter what, love what you are doing and be engaged!
Duke Student '16