Which J1er Are You? Introducing Ross, The Fun-Loving Disaster…

Let’s cut to the chase, we’ve been helping Irish students spend an unforgettable summer in The States for over 50 years. In that time, you would be genuinely amazed how often we see the same J1’ers come through our doors…

There’s ‘The Chief’ who has everything planned from getting her job sorted crazy (and pretty impressively) early, to where to have lunch on the 54th day of her J1. Then you have ‘The GAA Head’, who’s generally dumbfounded by anything beyond a corner forward or the GoPro guy who, instead of soaking up the sights, records them in 634 different angles with 81 different filters.

Ross hasn’t properly slept since being forced into watching The Notebook in 2011, or that time I fell asleep while waiting to interview for a sales job in town. He’s ‘The Party Animal’. Here’s his J1 story…

How To Spot Ross!

Q: Hey Ross, so where does your J1 Summer start?

To be honest, I thought a J1 was a type of Audi, but the boys said to me after Christmas that they’d got sorted to spend their summer in San Diego and I should get involved ’cause I’m a real buzzer!

I thought, yeah, quality but found it weird when they told me they’d Whatsapped me the plan about 8 times and I never wrote back! Last I checked my phone was in the Corrib anyway cause, you know how it is…life!

Anyway, wherever the party is, I’m there so I got sent a link and applied online at 3am one morning. Got my deposit in, and went back to watching Netflix”.

Q: How did you go about getting your job?

The whole job thing kind of went over my head for a while. The rest of our crew got sorted in bars and theme parks ’cause they went to this Hiring Fair thing but I slept in after going on a Mystery Tour the night before with a bunch of randomers I met in the college bar.

I got sorted with a new phone but a different number and got an email one morning saying if I didn’t submit my docs and secure a job that I’d be cancelled off the programme! Thankfully one of the lads seemed to know what I needed to do and gave me a hand submitting everything in time, legend! I took a loan out of the credit union and paid my balance. No idea when I’ve to pay that back but if they say nothing, I’ll say nothing.

Kyle (he took a class video of our summer on his GoPro) sorted me with an interview to work beside his place as an ‘Entertainment Operative’. It sounded good so I had an interview and I was told my job would involve speaking to lots of people, handing out flyers and being ‘like a mascot’ for this food joint beside the park. Easy work!

Q: How was your first week over in the States?

I sort of forgot to check-in for our flight which wasn’t great, but one of the lad’s parents dropped us to the airport mad early so it was fine. I had to pretend I was babysitting for my uncle because I ended up at some random house party a few miles from home. A quick detour to get my bags (although had to turn back when my passport didn’t pack itself) and we were ready to fly!

San Diego looked absolutely quality and a heap of us spent the first weekend hanging out, going to the beach and hitting the club. Was bloody devastated when the club wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing a fox onesie. I thought this was the land of the free?!

Anyway, turns out I’d be swapping the onesie for a hot dog costume soon enough. I thought working as ‘Henry the Hot Dog’ would be a great laugh but it turns out the costume was better suited to the Arctic Circle and it was 35 degrees outside! Not ideal, especially when the boys got off early and spent their afternoon going on the rides at the theme park for free…I got free hot dogs though, delighted!

Q: What was the highlights and lowlights of the 3 months?

There were so many sick parties! A weekend trip up to Vegas was pretty sweet, although the lads had saved up for it and got to do a skydive while I cruised around the casino, betting 10c an hour. Still, I was able to afford tickets to see Conor McGregor batter Jose Aldo in the MGM. We met him afterwards too and he got me in a head-lock for the craic! Of course, my phone was dead so no one believes me. Nor do they believe I could’ve got out of it. If I wanted to like…

Lowlights were probably the job sweats and the time I left my wallet in a KFC right after getting paid. The boys bailed me out for the month’s rent so I had to sleep on the mattress that used to be a dog’s bed by the previous tenants. So itchy!

Q: What advice would you give to this year’s J1 students?

Ask USIT or a mate to help you out with your docs and a job earlier than I did. The penny sort of dropped that I’d messed up when a dog was trying to eat the gigantic hot dog handing out flyers on the pier, while the rest of my mates were being lifeguards and working in bars, using their Irish charm on the US girls.

Also, hangovers are way worse in the heat. Slagging off lads for drinking water seemed obvious at the time but they ended up always fresh and me dying. Coincidence? Ah, probably… 

Everybody knows a ‘Ross’ – he’s beyond funny, always the first man to make an eejit of himself in the name of the craic and will definitely lose most of his possessions during a crazy 2 months. Who’s your Ross? Tag him!