Out of her comfort zone

Ellie Akough, Reporter

Her smiling face is at the Scooter’s closest to Elkhorn South. She worked diligently on Don Bacon’s 2018 campaign. Most students don’t have near as much work experience as her. Most students intern at a place that piques their interest, like an office or a school. Not Sydney. Senior Sydney King got an internship at Reichmuth Funeral Home in the beginning of December. She hopes people’s reactions when they read that is exactly the same as how she expected it to be.

When King tells people she has an internship at a funeral home, the most common reaction is a confused face and a prompt: Why? People say funeral homes are depressing, dreary, and too serious, among other things. King says her decision was impulsive,

“This is my last year of high school, and I wanted to do something fun for an internship,” King said. “I actually was driving to my other internship when I passed a cemetery and realized exactly what I wanted to do—I want to work in a funeral home.”

Contrary to popular belief, King didn’t have a dying (no pun intended) need to be around the deceased all day. King just wanted something out of the ordinary.

“Who do you know that works at a funeral home? Probably nobody. I wanted something nobody else did,” King said.

After working at a stressful campaign office close to the election, Sydney mentioned that she wanted a breather and that Reichmuth gave her that.

“Everyone always asks me if it’s depressing there but honestly, it’s not,” King said. “I love my boss, and all the other morticians there, we laugh a lot and always make jokes. Sure, the jokes are a little more darker at times, but we all have similar humor and jokes.”
So, what exactly does King do? She can’t possibly just stand around, reorganizing the embalming room. King said she does a number of jobs, many of them much less dreary than King’s peers would expect.

“One of my jobs is helping to make the fresh-baked cookies for visitation and then setting up,” King said. “I help set up services, help with the lunch afterwards, clean, deliver flowers to the retirement homes, and a lot of other things.”

The bright tasks King described are far for her peer’s impression of a funeral home internship. King said it surprises people when she tells them she rarely actually deals with the bodies.

“People ask me all the time if I ever embalm a body, and I usually just stare at them dumbfounded,” King said. “To even work on a body, a person has to go to mortuary school and then also do an apprenticeship.”

King shared sentiments that although she loves working at the funeral home, it’s not a career for her.

“I think people just assume I want to be a funeral director, but before I changed my major, I actually wanted to be a lawyer,” King said.

She wanted the funeral home to be something fun to go to instead of just having an extra couple of study halls slapped on the end of her schedule.

King narrated a version in her life in which this internship would benefit her far above all others.

“I recently changed my major to creative writing. Working in a funeral home gives me a unique experience no one else will have,” King said.

She was grateful to have an experience like Reichmuth that could benefit her for years to come.

“The words ‘funeral home’ definitely make people’s ears perk up. I think it’ll make for the perfect ice breaker,” King said.