Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Final stretch

This is the final stretch. It is the second day of my final week at CBS and I have a bit of reflecting to do. Perhaps it's slightly premature since I will be driving to and from the studio for the next three days, but it feels like now is the time to make observations - before the positivity of near-completeness settles in. It's easy to become distracted by the relief of being done with something.

Last week I would've told you I was ready to quit. I didn't see the point in coming back for another week of work after getting into a car accident on the way into the office. Why go through the stress of the drive anymore now that I was feeling so vulnerable behind the wheel? Was the pay off worth the anxiety?

These were the questions I asked literally the second I pulled over on the 210 and walked out of my car. Amidst my frantic phone calls to my dad about what the steps were after getting into a car accident were the frequent side comments. Should I find a way into the office today? What about tomorrow? What about next week? Who do I call? What do I do? What about the paycheck?

All of my questions had to be silenced for the moment because I was in the midst of a minor disaster. If I thought too much about work then I wouldn't have time to think about how to deal with standing at the side of the freeway.

When I got home I finally started to think of it more. I spent time with my grandma and her first comment was "Are you going into work tomorrow?" But unlike my dad who asked it in a seriously concerned way, as if to say "Please rethink going into work tomorrow," my grandma was reverse-psychologing [sic] me into wanting to return to the office. But I've never been susceptible to her occasional mind games, so I kept questioning things.

Then my sister and I were having a conversation over text and she made some passing comment about hopping back on the horse (a stand-in for getting back on the freeway) and channeling my fear into increased carefulness.

That was when the message set in.

Until the conversation, I'd still been having discussions with my dad about whether I needed to be at CBS for the last week of my internship. Was it worth having my dad rent a car and using his vehicle for my final week? Was it worth getting back on the road and fighting the paranoia every time a car passes too close to me on my right?

My dad asked me again on the night of the accident and I told him, "Emily (my sister) sent me this text and I guess I just decided I have to go back."

For six weeks before the accident I'd had the opportunity to get to know this studio, this office, the people in it and the jobs that are associated with it. And even though I came home many a night with tears in my eyes wondering why I was still driving four hours a day just so I could sit at a desk during the day and deal with the same tasks I'd already gotten accustomed to over the past few weeks, it felt like a given. Like there was no question this was right and that I had to keep doing it.

The work itself has been fine. I've learned how to do basic office tasks and I've gotten to observe some great events and photo shoots. I've seen behind the scenes at a studio, which is something I've always dreamed to be able to do. Even if it doesn't lead to a job in the film or television industry, it's the kind of experience you wouldn't trade for anything.

But aside from the actual job itself, I've gotten to know this place as if it was my second home. Unlike that first day when I walked through the office and marveled at the styrofoam-mounted poster of Craig Ferguson in the hallway, the following days have had me walk past and lose myself in my place. I've gotten so used to the repetition of it all that I've even started driving past the Walt Disney Animation Studios on the way into work without taking a second glance (gasp!).

I like that I've developed a feeling of normalcy here. That when I go to work in the morning I feel casual pulling up to the parking structure and scanning by CBS badge.

But I also like that the normal can be accompanied by sheer amazement. Just this week, the street that I turn onto right before I get to the parking structure has been occupied by a film crew set up in front of some local residence. Even though I work in the studio where film crews are plentiful, driving past them in a surprising location still sets my enthusiasm off.

I'm glad I haven't gypped myself on a final week of work at this studio. That even though I was given the "ok" to drop out by my dad, I reasoned that the opportunity was worth putting myself through some extra stress. Because without it things wouldn't feel finished. Staying at home this week just wouldn't feel right.

I've truly been blessed with the chance to drive into Studio City every day (and if you know me, you know that "blessed" is not a word I use often). Even through the toughest times, CBS has been a light at the end of the tunnel. This set of buildings and stages stuck between concrete walls and painted gates somehow retains a sense of magic that any other set of office buildings seriously lacks.

And it's just been a great time.

So I set out to avoid being sappy, thinking that at this point in my internship I'd feel less inclined to talk about how proud I am of what I've gotten to do. I didn't do that exactly. But I still think that my perspective on this internship came from an honest place. Maybe in a few days my opinions will change. If that's true, I'll write again. If not, then I'll just say a hearty "thank you" to CBS.

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