Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Facing the Unknown

I’m Julia Dean, a rising sophomore, and this week began my internship with theChicCulture, a startup lifestyle magazine focused on providing the best in fashion, food, and travel experiences, at the friendliest prices. Many conversations in the business world focused on startups discuss how one must be comfortable with change and the unknown. Of course, while that is true, the unknown is not exclusive to business. Just like a muscle, our ability to face and embrace the unknown grows as we test ourselves. Oh boy did I this first week, and let me tell you, friends – the unknown exists everywhere, and whether you’re prepared or not, you’ll have to face it.

My internship is based in downtown Los Angeles, on the border between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. I rented an Airbnb bedroom in Koreatown (less than 10 miles away from the internship). I also decided not to drive my car into the city, to save on money and time, so I took public transportation instead. Yes, it exists in Los Angeles.

Here is a short list of things that went wrong within my first week – the unknown hit me with full force.

  • The train ride into the city from my home 50 miles away, usually a drive of an hour with no traffic, took 90 minutes. Then the bus ride from a train station 2 miles away from my internship took an hour. AKA I spent 2.5 hours on public transportation one way in the morning
  • My Airbnb host texted me on my train ride into the city that the shower had broken, and that he didn’t expect it to be fixed by my arrival 6 hours later (thankfully, it was).
  • The bus ride from my internship to my Airbnb, a distance of about 5 miles, took 1 hour.
  • I hit my head on a hand rail as I was leaving a fully packed bus.
  • I missed a bus as I was sitting across the street. I thought I was on the right side of the street…turns out, I was wrong.
  • A woman driving a Prius almost hit me as I was crossing a street where I had right of way.

My point here is not that Los Angeles public transportation is rather terrible. My point is that the business world is not the only place where things go wrong, or where you have to face the unknown and maybe fall on your face in the process. The sooner we realize that life is full of unknowns, prepare ourselves as best as possible, and work out our unknown savvy muscles, the better life will be. I, for one, now know – a distance of 5 miles in Los Angeles is probably faster to walk than drive. Also, watch out for the hand rails.