My Internship Experience- Casey Picillo

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – a quote from author Neale Donald Walsch, a Pinterest favorite, and the perfect way to summarize my experience here at Fair Hills Resort. Before accepting this recreation internship position, I had found myself stuck in a rut back home in Indiana. I lived at home, drove to my university every day, absentmindedly sat through my classes, worked on campus a few days a week, and went straight back home. Admittedly, I was content in this rut—I felt comfortable, safe, and secure. I had been neglecting the adventurous spirit in me for awhile, and at times, I thought I had completely lost this side of myself. Perhaps being a homebody was my fate.

In March, I applied for two internships for the summer semester—an event planning one right in my hometown and the recreation one here at Fair Hills, purely as a backup. Don’t get me wrong, the internship at Fair Hills sounded and looked amazing, but the 14-hour drive from home had me very hesitant. But in what turned out to be the greatest rejection of my life, the event company in my hometown turned down my application, and I found myself packing my bags for Minnesota.

Although the first week here I undeniably struggled with the blatant shove out of my comfort zone, everything got better as soon as I started talking to the other staff. Fast-forward 9 weeks and I could not be having a better time here. Every day, there’s another opportunity to learn something as a worker or grow as a human being. There are so many things I’ve done here that I never imagined myself doing—building an elaborate treasure hunt from scratch, writing a song for the kids to sing in the talent show, belly flopping into the pool dressed as one of the three little pigs, and of course, singing and dancing on stage in front of a packed pavilion at the Tuesday night Hootenanny. Not to mention the friends I’ve gained and the memories I’ve made are something I will treasure and reminisce about eternally.

There is no shortage of good things I can say about the staff and the friends I’ve made here, but what has truly made my Fair Hills experience fantastic is the job itself. Some days, I don’t even feel like I’m working. Whether it’s calling Bingo (my all-time favorite activity), building sand castles, cruising on the Big Pelican, or just jumping in the lake, I am constantly having a good time with the kids. Watching them create their own life-long memories while on vacation and seeing their smiles makes everything worth it. I have never had a more fun or rewarding job.

In just four short weeks, I will be returning home to Indiana. But I feel like I am returning as a renewed version of myself. Sure, I’ll be living at home and going to class and working on campus once again, but I’ll continue looking for ways to grow in my everyday life. I will introduce myself to new people. I will go to events I may have never even considered going to in the past. I will pay attention in class and ask questions and learn everything I can. I will study some Turkish or Serbian and continue planning my trip across seas. I will continue to push myself to step out of my comfort zone, because that’s where I’ve had the most fun. And if “Can’t Stop the Feeling” or “Best Day of My Life,” comes on the radio as I’m driving to school, I’ll smile and think fondly of the summer I spent on Pelican Lake.