The college summers we remember fondly

The college summers we remember fondly
Oh, the air mattress.

I wasn't proud of this moment, but it was something I couldn't help but laugh at.

I was sitting at the kitchen counter of my aunt's apartment in Kansas, where I was crashing while I was a summer reporting intern in Kansas City. She had just left for her new job halfway across the country, and I was alone in the apartment for a week. So naturally, I got to experience an intern's worst nightmare.

An empty fridge. And I had a dollar.

I didn't have a dollar in that dramatic effect sort of way when you say, "Yeah, she had like a dollar," when really, you're just getting low on money. I actually had one dollar and some change.

But what I did have was a jar of peanut butter.

So I sat at the kitchen counter in a lonely apartment with my jar of peanut butter, a dead MacBook Pro and my cell phone and thought how this was it. This was going to be my life, as a college student and a journalist. I kind of wanted to laugh, but also wondered how many more of these nights I was going to have to tolerate.

And the summer's quirks didn't stop with dinner from a jar. I lived on the floor of my aunt's apartment in her den, where I had an air mattress surrounded by my suitcases and newspaper clips from the summer. That den was my gracious home for the bulk of my time in Kansas City. For the last two weeks of the summer, I couch-hopped, living out of a suitcase, storing my belongings in random closets and essentially living out of my car. I don't think OSHA would've approved.

My living situation became somewhat of a joke around the newsroom. There was a picture of my air mattress pinned up on my desk at work, and my cunning colleagues brought me expired EasyMac and some Lunchables to mock my food situation. If you looked at my car, you would've thought I was homeless, staring at the cereal bar wrappers in my passenger seat and mess of work clothes and newspapers piled in my backseat.

And the trunk? Yeah, it's good that was closed to the public.

But I have to thank my aunt, air mattress and peanut butter. I enjoyed my internship like no other and the fact that I was even afforded those experiences as a 20-year-old journalism student was a true privilege. Yes, people laugh when I tell them of my Lunchables, living out of my car and roughing it on an air mattress and couches for a few months, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

So to the intern and college student who has to resort to a jar of peanut butter for dinner the night before pay day, welcome to the club. You're going to look back on your experience and won't want to change a thing, because it'll be a great story to tell of your summer as a college kid.



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