About two weeks into my internship in DC, I was offered a job from an outstanding PR firm. My day dreams of living in DC were brought to the front of my mind and commanded my attention…and a decision. I sought counsel from some people much older and wiser than me and stewed over it for days. If I took the job would I be unbearably homesick and miserable? If I didn’t take the job, would I regret it forever? Would I disappoint all those who believed in me, like my professors from the UO J-School? Was I a fool for even thinking about it? There were many sleepless nights tossing these questions around in my mind.

My whole life, my parents have been the decision makers. Now, that’s not to say that as I grew, my opinion wasn’t voiced (you better believe it was) and sometimes, decisions were mine. But I’m talking about big decisions, like where we live, where we travel, etc. This decision was fully mine and mine alone to answer. Where did I want to live? Where did I want to build the early foundations of my adult life? My family swore to support me regardless of my decision, even offering to send all my things and come help me find an apartment.

To my heart the answer was clear. Convincing my head was a struggle. In the end, I realized that this is my life and I needed to follow my heart even if everyone thought I was nuts.

*Photo courtesy of Students of the World

The moment I settled on moving home to Portland, I had complete peace about my decision. As graciously as I could, I declined the offer. Yes, in this outrageous economy, I turned down an amazing offer at an amazing firm, doing amazing work.

The fact of it all was that this summer I learned something pivotal about myself. I LOVE my family and I need to be near them. I know that a lot of people love their families, but being on the other side of the country from mine was unbearable. These past several years, I’ve been surprised by how much I am learning about myself and how I am intrinsically wired. This summer was another “Aha!” moment.

I’ve always longed to be an adventurous person. The truth is even in the smallest ways (like ordering something new at a restaurant), I resist change and cling to routine. Now, I know what you’re all thinking, when it comes to communications, I need to get over this. I know, I know. But when it comes to my personal life, I love color-coded to-do lists, a detailed planner and schedules. Unlike many of my friends, I don’t have this itch to “get out and experience something new,” such as moving to South America for the next six months. While that’s great for some, it simply doesn’t interest me. As my friend Andrew said,

“Don’t try to deny who you are.”

I am a homebody.

Let me be clear. I am not sharing this story to boast. I recognize that this was a wonderful opportunity and that many people are struggling right now to find work. I am simply sharing this because this was a huge thing that I learned this summer and I simply wanted to share it with my readers as a learning opportunity.

I love the Northwest. It will always be my home. While I had a blast this summer and was so honored to have had the opportunity that I did, I knew in the end, I had to follow my heart. I will be forever grateful for all that I learned and the innumerable ways it changed me personally and professionally.

I’ve been home now for almost two weeks and the job hunt continues. My dream is to find PR work that challenges me, grows me and also taps into my background, interests and passions. With so many remarkable agencies in the Northwest, I remain hopeful that despite the status of the economy, I will be able to find something.

Below are some pictures from the end of my time in DC. Enjoy!
Day trip to Annapolis

There's really never a moment when I'd pass up fro-yo

Picnic dinner at Wolf Trap before the Tony Bennett concert. I know, it's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it.

Visiting the Kennedy Center with my dear friend Christina

Beautiful view of the Capitol from the rooftop balcony of the Newseum

Dirksen Senate Office Building: Where I worked!