College Intern's Grueling 1.2K-Mile Commute Goes Viral

Sophia Celentano actually saves money by flying from SC to gig in NJ every Wednesday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2023 10:26 AM CDT
College Intern Who Didn't Want to Pay NYC Rent Gets Creative
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Nutthaseth Vanchaichana)

College student Sophia Celentano gets up around 3am every Wednesday to get ready for her summer internship—not because her gig starts very early (it's a traditional 9-to-5), but because she's a "super commuter," flying 600 miles one way from her home in Charleston, South Carolina, to her New Jersey workplace for the one-day-a-week assignment. CNN reports that the 21-year-old rising fourth-year (ie, senior) at the University of Virginia opted to commute by plane to her internship at Ogilvy Health in Parsippany after she figured out how much it would cost her to live in or around New York City for the summer.

By Celentano's calculations, she would have to pony up at least $4,250 in living expenses (rent, food, gas, etc.) to live close to her worksite until the internship ends in August, while her commute from Charleston ends up being just $225 per week, which includes a roundtrip ticket from Charleston to Newark Liberty International Airport on Spirit, Uber costs, and food, per CNBC. That equals a savings of about $2,000 over the course of 10-week internship program. "Plus, my untraditional commute provides me with more lifestyle freedom, and I genuinely look forward to my weekly adventures," Celentano writes in a LinkedIn post about her decision. That doesn't means it's not a grueling routine.

Celentano wakes up about three hours before her 6am flight every Wednesday and catches a 9pm flight back to Charleston—meaning she doesn't roll in back home until around 11pm. She notes, however, that she works remotely on Thursdays, so she's able to sleep a little later in the morning. Celentano isn't the only student in her internship taking such extremes: She tells CNBC others come into the Jersey office from Boston, Philly, and even Atlanta. Celentano's TikTok posts about taking a plane to work have since gone viral, with one that's amassed close to 700,000 views as of Friday. "Obviously, moving to a new city can be exciting, and it's great to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but that kind of change is not what I was craving in my life right now," she tells CNBC. (More commute stories.)

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