When The Oklahoman’s internship coordinator, Joe Hight, called me for an interview in December, I was incredibly nervous. I don’t remember most of the things we talked about, but he asked me one question that I’ll never forget.
“So, why are you interested in coming to Oklahoma?”
I do remember having a moment of panic because it was the first question I didn’t know how to answer. I knew why I liked The Oklahoman and NewsOK, but not necessarily why I liked the area. Somehow I fumbled through it and he liked me enough anyway to give me the spot, and I gladly accepted within the hour.
After I accepted the internship, many of my friends and relatives asked me similar questions. ”So, you’re leaving the East Coast, huh? Why? What’s so great about Oklahoma?”
Ever since I got here I can’t stop hearing it, either. ”Why Oklahoma?” “What made you come here?”
Many people are just curious, but some of them say it like I’m crazy. What made me come here, like it was some terrible thing for me to leave Virginia and move out west.
So, why Oklahoma?
I was initially drawn to The Oklahoman and NewsOK because of Adam Kemp, a two-time intern who now works on the Metro desk. We attended the Poynter College Fellowship together last summer and spent many, many hours together working on a big project. We kept in touch and he had such a good experience that I figured I might as well apply.
But I’m glad to say that Adam isn’t the only cool part about Oklahoma City. I’ve watched every Thunder game with my roommates/fellow interns, gone to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, explored the Oklahoma City Zoo, walked around Bricktown, saw the Paul Simon documentary “Under African Skies” at the deadCENTER Film Festival, and even met James Marsden. There is always something fun to do, and there is much more to explore.
But more than that, this city is so welcoming and everyone feels so unified. Part of that might be because the Thunder is doing so well, but this feels like a place where you will always be accepted and welcomed with open arms. And since I came from almost 1,500 miles away, I really needed that.
As I’ve researched the city and gotten to know it a little bit better, I am so glad I came. I’ve only been here for a little over two weeks and I’m strangely attached to this city already. I can’t quite put it into words, but from day one it felt like home. I will always love Virginia, but I’m not homesick because there’s no need to be; I already feel at home.
Some of that might just be my optimism, because I came fully prepared to fall in love with this city. Before me and my roommate/fellow intern Olivia Ingle try anything new here, one of us always says, “No matter what happens, it’ll be an adventure.” But I think that most of it is just because Oklahoma City is a great place to live and explore, especially if you’re willing to try new things.
The thought of having to leave this place in August breaks my heart, but I’m not going to think about that for the time being. For now I’m just going to have fun, work hard and keep exploring this great city I now call home.