Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

During the past year, everything that I knew to be normal was completely changed. Not only did I find myself at a new Penn State campus with over 40,000 students, but only 9 months later, I moved to Pittsburgh all alone without knowing anyone to intern at Schneider Downs. I remember starting my junior year and being extremely overwhelmed because I knew I needed an internship at an accounting firm for the upcoming summer, but I did not know how I was going to stand out among so many other students at Penn State. I was beyond nervous and did not know what to expect when interviewing to intern at Schneider Downs, but immediately I could tell how welcoming and friendly everyone was, and I left the interview knowing I really wanted to work at Schneider Downs.

The first time I visited One PPG Place, I was overwhelmed and nervous, but the welcoming atmosphere of the Schneider Downs office really made me feel at home and like I belonged. I have spent my entire life living in a small, rural town of about 2,500 people, 2 ½ hours from Pittsburgh, so I was beyond excited for the opportunity to spend the summer working in the heart of the city. I grew up in a family of Pirates fans so I have been to PNC Park numerous times to watch games, and each time I remember being in shock at how beautiful the city skyline is, hoping someday I would be able to live and work there. I remember leaving the office the day of my second interview beyond excited to call my family and tell them everything about my experience and to just talk about how much I wanted to work at Schneider Downs!

Fast forward to May, and the time came to leave home and move to the city where I didn’t know anyone and start a professional accounting internship in one of the biggest buildings in downtown Pittsburgh. The very first day I moved into my apartment and was alone for the first time, I was nervous and very far out of my comfort zone. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to just turn around and go right back home, but the moment I stepped into Schneider Downs on my first day, this feeling completely went away. I was surrounded by other interns in the same exact boat I was in, and because of that, I made unexpected connections and friendships I am very grateful for.

From the beginning, everyone at Schneider Downs made sure I felt welcomed, comfortable, and like I belonged. This internship experience offered me more than I ever expected it to. I knew from day one that I did not want a stereotypical internship experience where I would be making copies and getting coffee, and Schneider Downs was nothing like that at all. Schneider Downs did not hesitate to throw me right into field work at different client locations, and really gave me insight on what it would be like to start my professional career here. From day one of training to the end of my internship, I learned something new every day, whether it be something about accounting, a client, a co-worker, the firm, or even myself. Schneider Downs taught me to push myself further and gave me the confidence to not be afraid to jump right into something new and ask questions. I’m grateful for receiving the opportunity to intern at Schneider Downs and will hold onto the memories, experiences, and knowledge I gained for many years to come!

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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