Your hometown circle could be keeping your options limited in terms of careers. If you’re willing and have the opportunity, however, going a little further might be an option to consider. A week after graduating, I packed up my car and drove for 14 hours away from home for a summer internship. I’ve been to other parts of the country for vacations but that’s about it. My family lived in the same town for generations, and I went to a college 15 minutes away. On top of that my mother worked there, so basically, everything I ever needed was in (or around) my hometown. At least I thought that.
Some people after graduating from an in-state school want to find a job in their hometown or somewhere around the area. They make calculations on how far they would drive when applying for jobs and internships. I understand there are obligations and reasons behind why staying put is the perfect option for you, however, if you have the opportunity, a sense of adventure, and a game plan, then it’s time to go.
Here are a few reasons to consider flying around the country:
The hometown circle includes your friends and family and basically everyone you went to high school/college with. Seeing familiar faces around town, even if you don’t talk to them, is a comfort whether you realize it or not. Leaving that comfort is hard, but a great opportunity to learn how to network all over again. Once you find yourself somewhere where everyone is a stranger, you can’t lean on acquaintances anymore. Having a network that spans the country can’t hurt either. (I totally have that!)
You Have Time For It:
Advisors and faculty that I became close with in college always told me, “This is the only time in your life you will ever be able to do this.” They were, of course, talking about traveling. It might not be your only time, necessarily, but early on in the job search certainly is a great time! If you don’t have a full time job yet, or are looking for that first job, why not experience it somewhere else while you can. Travel cross-country on a bus, find a sublet for the summer and have an internship in a state you didn’t expect. (Hint: some internship programs provide housing, you just have to look!)
Your Friends Are Doing It:
Peer pressure is bad right? Well thinking in terms of getting older, graduating, internship hunting….in all reality, your friends might not be staying close to home either. In my close knit group of friends who graduated, myself and one other traveled more than 2 states away for an internship and a full time job, both to culturally different areas than what we were accustomed to. Another has a yearly rotational job which sends him to a different area every year, one has been working in a big city, and one who is moving to Madrid for a year! Adventure: we have found it.
After this internship is over, I am yet again traveling another couple of states away from my home town (this time in the opposite direction) for graduate school. All of this moving around has made me more aware of how things work in different parts of the country (maybe one day I’ll be able to say the world?) and along with that, a better candidate for jobs that may come in the future. I didn't know I needed this experience before I got here and I'm so glad I took a risk.
For some people, a hometown job within your “circle” may be perfect. I know for me it would be. Your first job might not be in your perfect location, but your definition of perfect can change. Who knows, you might even find your new hometown.
And whether it be for work, family, friends, or just to visit if you’ve left for good, you can always go back home.