I desperately needed a summer job for 2005. I was two weeks away from getting out of school and was starting to panic. I ran into a friend who mentioned her upcoming summer job in Alaska. I asked a few questions and she said that I should apply to work for Princess and Holland America in Skagway, Alaska. I would be driving tour buses and giving tours. Sounded easy enough; I had nothing else on my plate…so I applied! I had a phone interview (which scared me to death) and a few days later I found out I got the job. I jumped on a bus about a week later that took me from Rexburg, Idaho to Seattle, Washington. I was with six other people all headed to Skagway to drive buses. I was scared out of my mind. I had no idea what I had just gotten myself into. I thought about ditching the bus at one of the truck stops and coming back home…but I thought it would be less dangerous in Alaska…than at some random truck stop! So, I stayed on the bus. It took about two days to get to Seattle, and the whole time I kept thinking, “I have to drive one of these? This is crazy! What am I doing? Where am I going?”
The flight from Seattle to Juneau was a blur. I was so nervous…which is not like me. I like to try new things and I like to just go and do! But Alaska?!? When we landed in Juneau we immediately got onto a tiny, tiny plane destined for Skagway. The flight from Juneau to Skagway was worth the trip already! It was beyond beautiful. When we flew into the valley of Skagway, it seemed so tiny. By then my nerves had calmed down and I was ready to get started! I had not been trained prior to coming to Alaska…so I spent the first three and a half weeks training in a bus. It came pretty easy! By the time I had earned my CDL and was certified to drive passengers, I was ready to go! I was so excited to give my first tour that I could hardly stand it! I love talking to people and I love driving; so what better job than being a driver/guide. The summer went forward with no problems and here I am three summers later…still working in Skagway for Princess and Holland America.
After my first summer, I returned to school at Brigham Young University – Idaho. I am studying Outdoor Recreation Leadership. After talking with one of my professors about my summer adventure…he mentioned that the experience would count as my Beginning Internship. At my school, the Rec. students must go through two separate, 400 hour internships before graduation. I definitely had worked over 400 hours, so I talked to the internship office, then to my manager back in Alaska…and all was figured out. I was done with my beginning internship. The next summer I came back as a driver/guide again. I had so much fun my first year that I could not find a reason why I shouldn’t have come back. Once again, my summer was full of driving, fun, and well…fun!
After that second summer, I had to start preparing to graduate from school…so I needed to find a Senior Internship. I talked with the company and found out that a position in the office would be opening soon for the summer of 2007. I applied and had to wait forever to find out if I got the job. Once I did, I arranged it with the school and work for my internship to count. In order for my senior internship to count, I had to have a little more responsibility than a driver…so it was perfect that I was hired for my current job.
Being a dispatcher is nice because I’m slowly starting to see more aspects of what really makes Princess and Holland America run! It is definitely different than being a driver…the florescent lights give me headaches. And I miss driving like crazy because driving is never stressful…it’s just easy. Working in the office is hard. But I am learning a lot and I really am enjoying myself. Because of this internship, I will finally be able to graduate from college in April! Whenever I tell people about my last few summers, they are always intrigued as to why I keep coming back. To be honest…it is like a paid vacation. Who gets to spend their summers in beautiful Alaska? Who gets to go camping and hiking whenever they want? When do you get to see glaciers on a daily basis? What is wrong with loving a company who really strives to take care of their employees? The question is, why wouldn’t you want to come back? And after I graduate in April…will I come back? Who knows…