How I chose my retirement home at 20

Any chance you are looking to retire soon? Me either. But I have a lot of knowledge about retirement communities, how much they cost, what the benefits are, and some options across the country, thanks to my copywriting internship. So give me a chance to explain how an advertising agency gave me a vast background in retirement communities, medical centers, restaurants across the country and some more traditionally valuable skills in advertising. 

In early May 2022, I logged onto the first day of my first internship from my childhood bedroom in Scranton, PA. Joining the workforce with my baby blanket and high school diploma on a shelf just out of view of my webcam. Jealous right? I met with my hiring manager, and he handed me off to my new mentor. 

My first couple of days were writing short-form copy, sitting in on meetings, and completing some Hubspot courses to get better background knowledge on some new things. Once my boss understood my writing skills, my strength, and what could use some work, he handed me my first piece. “7 reasons to retire in Healdsburg, California”. Ah yes, just what a 20-year-old wants to research and write about, a retirement community 3000 miles away. 

Even though I wasn’t particularly excited, I got to work. I sat down, fueled up with my Panera Bread green tea, and got to googling. “ Healdsburg, CA”, “ Fun things to do in Healdsburg, CA”, “ What to do in Healdsburg, CA” “ Doordash.com” …no, no stay on track… “Why to live in Healdsburg”, were just some of my initial searches. But, after a hundred and some google searches and hours spent on this retirement community client’s website, my opinion was changing. 

By the end of the day, I realized this is much more fun than I initially thought. I’m writing for an audience I’ve never addressed, I’m learning about all the fun things to do in a place I’ve never heard of, I’m getting real-life advertising experience, I’m growing my portfolio, developing new writing skills, and they are paying me to do it! An assignment I was sure would be boring turned out to be exciting. I logged off for the day, ready to come back tomorrow and start my first draft. 

The following day hopped out of bed, drove at a dangerous speed to the Dunkin’ near my house, grabbed my coffee, and zoomed home to log in on time. I opened up my laptop, chatted with my boss, and returned to what life is like in Healdsburg. After a few hours, I completed my first draft and sent it to my boss for review. In the meantime, he had another brief ready for me. I was to help write the FAQ page for this same retirement community I was working on. 

This assignment was easy because I already knew so many of the answers. So with my background knowledge of the company and the notes I had from the client, completing the FAQ page was a breeze. 

One thing I’m starting to like about advertising is the diversity of clients. It isn’t the same thing, for the same company, day after day. You’re handed new clients every day, and as you finish one, a new one disappears. As a result, you’re never bored, and there is always something fresh to work on. As I reach the halfway point in my internship, I’m grateful for everything I have learned. Some of it is valuable advertising and writing skills, while others are how to finance a life at a retirement community and great restaurants in a city thousands of miles away. Either way, I wouldn’t change it.

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