Friday, November 23, 2012

Dangling with Drive

Every time I start to think about a blog post, I consider how much has happened in my life since the last time I reflected on it. Each day I try to have a worthwhile experience and really live a purpose driven life because within the last year that has been instilled in me as a great way to drive yourself towards your goals.

As I was thinking about this post, it became clear to me how monotonous life can become. I think a whole lot about my future goals in life but I have no clear direction on how to reach the desired outcome. So instead of driving myself every day to learn something new or challenge myself to become a more purpose driven individual, I get into this routine that seems pointless.

I guess it could be a side effect of this transition period of my life. But since I don’t have a direction right now, I have started to consider that I might walk off this campus with a few more regrets that I was expecting. Was I involved enough? Did I really experience everything this town has to offer? Did I invest enough time in this campus that I will forever call my home? These questions arise from my feelings of disconnect with major parts of this university. Of course, I have checked the box on many of the typical experiences that UGA students are supposed to have but have I really driven myself to think outside of the box with my own college education?

I have a short four and half months left in a place that I am not sure I ever want to leave and to be honest, that scares me. It scares me enough to change my attitude. I want to feel that constant drive to work towards my goal. I want to be able to say that I sucked all of the life out of my education and the opportunities it afforded to me. I want to be able to say that even though there were weeks when I didn’t feel that deep down motivation to live life to the fullest, when the pendulum started to swing in the other direction I didn’t want to look back at the monotony.

My goal of 2012 was to live life to the fullest and even though it’s not time for my reflection, I think I succeeded until the tides turned in a different direction. This transition period in my life is going to make for a very interesting 2013 because in a matter of 12 months my life is probably going to change multiple times and each time I am going to have to reflect on my purpose and continue to feed my inner passion.

In my leadership program, we had a speaker come talk about his career at Chick-fil-A and he mentioned that my generation is so different from his because we talk about passion constantly and his main focus in college was to get a job. So what if you didn’t enjoy it? My generation is going to be the group of people who either leave an organization if our values don’t align or build up this inner drive to influence the organization significantly in our favor. I want to make sure that I have that inner drive and that I am making sure my activities are aligning with the passions that make my come alive inside.

I guess the point of this post is that times of transition lead to great opportunities to experience everything that life has to offer. In terms of one door closing and another one opening, I want that closed door to be the exit of an empty room and I want to be stepping into a room full of possibilities. And I guess thinking about my how I haven’t been taking advantage of life recently, I want to reignite my drive to live life to the fullest and not let my laziness lead to regrets and unfulfilled opportunities.

Dangling through Thanksgiving

The holiday season is upon us again and this year I am really trying to focus on the reason for the season rather than the commercialized aspects of the time between Thanksgiving and New Years.

I think one of the most interesting parts of this time of year is learning about everyone else's traditions. My extended family is always together for both holidays. We usually have about 25-30 people attend our Thanksgiving dinner but this year that number was about half. I think due to the smaller crowd around our table, it made me realize that many people celebrate with just their families or groups of friends that they are not related to. I have been fortunate to have all of those people around me at one Thanksgiving meal. I am realizing that as my life changes over the next few years, my traditions will have to adjust.

That is why I would like to take a moment to reflect on all of the aspects of my life that I am thankful for because I don't want to lose sight of what is really important during this holiday season.

  • Family: without any of these people I would not be the person that I am and I know that no matter what happens they will always be beside me
  • Friends: I have been fortunate to cross paths with so many different people in my life and I am just now realizing how much of an impact each of these people can make. I want to continue to make sure that I am investing in worthwhile relationships and make sure that moving forward I take opportunities to meet new people.
  • Education: I feel fortunate to be able to attend an outstanding university that has afforded me with too many opportunities to count. I am grateful that someone identified me as a student who wants to change the world and gave me the chance to start learning about how I can. I know there are people who do not have this chance and I do not want to take for granted this opportunity.
  • Job: I am so grateful that I have accepted an offer for an internship for next summer. I was so worried that I wasn't going to have this type of opportunity and I am excited to learn so much in this role. I know this job is going to lead me in an amazing direction and I can't wait to see how much I grow.
  • Worries: I know this one is strange but I see these worries as a positive aspect of my life. I am naturally a worry wart and tend to stress about things I can't control or things that are not worth stressing over. I am grateful for these worries because it means that I am so blessed. If I stopped worrying, life would go on and be blissful but these worries just signal to me that I can push myself to achieve more and help the greater good, and for that I am grateful.
  • Culture: probably another strange one. I am grateful for the way I was raised and the values that my parents have instilled in me. I am grateful for the fact that I can have my own tastes in XYZ and even though people might disagree with me, I am still allowed to have an opinion. I am grateful that every person I meet has their own views of culture and it creates a better society as a whole.
  • God: I am so grateful that God has given me such a wonderful life and given me the chance to be grateful for so many things. My religion has been a constant struggle in college because I know I have become closer to God but I am not necessarily showing it on a daily/weekly basis. I feel fortunate to believe that someone is always watching out for me and hope that my actions can start to reflect this attitude.
Obviously, these are a lot of the basic aspects of life that everyone is thankful for but I wanted to write them down in my own terms. I hope everyone had a glorious Thanksgiving and takes a moment to reflect on why they are thankful!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dangling with "Let Life Happen"

So it's been a month and a half since I have blogged but it is seriously because life as a senior is nothing like I was expecting it to be! My life is always running at full speed ahead but now I am balancing it with a slight case of seniorities and just thinking about life outside of Athens, Georgia.

First, living in the house has been a whole new challenge. I find myself living with girls who are two years younger than me and realizing what a difference those two years make. I am worrying about my internship opportunities for next summer and if I am going to come back for graduate school. Both of those worries could take up the majority of my time, but I add on the fact that most of the girls that are around me are worrying about who-likes-who and I feel like I need to have those worries as well.

Second, like I said I am trying to find an internship and figure out how I want to spend my first few years in the work force. Ever since I became a part of the Leonard program, I feel like I think about how I want to impact the world a lot. I know that I am suppose to use my skills and abilities to do something out of the ordinary. Coming out of school, I have to decide if I want to take the path that is laid down for me or try to define my own path. Part of that decision is if I want to come back for my masters degree. These last few weeks I have been taking every opportunity to learn from the professionals around me in order to make a better decision on what I want to do. I am starting to understand how valuable my masters degree would be but I still have to make sure that it is what I want to do rather than what I feel like I have to do. I am also trying to decide which firm is the best for me. I have to attend lots of different events and ask lots of questions to find out where I will fit in. It is very much out of my comfort zone to go to so many events and throw myself into a group of people but I am learning that it is a way of life in Accounting. There are so many factors that come into play when making this decision about my future and I have really had to learn how to digest all the information and make the best decision for me.

The third area of my life that has been on the rocks recently is my interactions with others. I am learning what it means to be a good friend and be accountable to the people who are good to me. I am realizing that having a quality conversation with someone is so much more satisfying then worrying about what others are saying behind my back. Also, the less I worry about what someone else is thinking of me, the more likely I am going to be able to relax and be myself. It is also so important to understand what you are saying to the people around you. I have a lot going on in my life, but there are some things that I need to process on my own and other things that I want to chat with others about. By making that distinction, I have proven to myself that when you know what you want you don't have to get wrapped up in drama. I can make decisions and be happy even when others are trying to convince me otherwise.

So, to wrap it up. The title of this post has been the phrase that has been running through my head for the last month and half. I need to be motivated and working towards all of my goals but I also have to realize that there are aspects of my life that I can't control so I might as well enjoy them. I am reflecting on my post from the beginning of this year and I am amazed at how much my life has changed. I love the fact that my attitude has turned around and I am perfectly content with living my life to the fullest. I have faith in whatever plan has been set out for me, so why not "let life happen" and be open to whatever comes my way.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dangling with Recruitment

For the last four years, the first two weeks of August have been devoted to sorority recruitment.

Freshman Year: Round 2
My freshman year it was probably one of the most difficult weeks of my life because it was all about finding out where I fit in on such a large campus like UGA. I knew very little about Delta Gamma when I joined but I am so grateful for that now because it has allowed me to be completely immersed in the values of this organization.

My sophomore and junior year there were many ups and downs during the two weeks of recruitment. My sophomore year I made the decision to go home to be with my family and even though I was glad to be with them, it killed me to miss out on my first recruitment with my sisters. My junior year I was stuck in this position of trying to figure out why I truly loved being a Delta Gamma and relating to all of the underclassman that were coming through recruitment. If I had to go back and redo junior year recruitment, I would definitely try to make it more worthwhile and take the opportunity to get closer to my sisters.

This year, the goal was to have a positive attitude and take in every moment because it was the last year that I would experience something like sorority recruitment. At what other time in your life will you spend five days straight talking to girls that you don't know very well and selling them on why your sorority has been the highlight of your college experience? Never, so I wanted to make this year one for the record books. I think my member class and I achieved our goal because this year we saw three years of long days and nights come full circle when we welcomed 74 new members into an organization that has weaved itself into all of our lives. There were smiles and laughs and tears but I wouldn't expect anything different from my sisters.

PC '09
My three years in Delta Gamma have proven so much to me. Every girl goes through recruitment for a number of reasons but what I have found is that those reasons are magnified and broadened throughout your college experience. Most of my good friends will be my sisters and I met my two soul mate best friends by spending most of my free time with them in Deeg Room 306. These 200 women are the people who will forever call me "Dang" and the girls who don't even realized how much of an impact they have made on bringing me out of my shell. Delta Gamma has taught me about selflessness and its impact on being a leader. I have gotten the opportunity to make my own story because of my lack of knowledge going through recruitment. My decisions make an impact on Delta Gamma and I will be able to walk out of college knowing that we both have changed for good. I am continuously impressed by the bond that ties us all together and how it impacts my life every day. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to join such a rewarding organization and that is why recruitment is worthwhile to me because I get to pass this idea on to the next generation of Delta Gammas.

Switching Gears: I went in to the first week of classes completely exhausted from the previous two weeks but knowing that it was worth it. The first week was really about realizing that I am entering what could potentially be my last year in Athens. There are so many items to check off my bucket list and so many options to consider for my future. I am determined to return to my star student glory of freshman year while also dealing with so many emotions and decisions. College has been a time of growth and change for me and this year might be on a whole another level completely but I think that is what makes life so interesting. Stay tuned for more dangling through life!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dangling with Enough Lessons to Last a Lifetime

Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a little daunting but this summer really has been all about my growth into a young adult who has a job and is expected to take care of herself. I am really happy that I have had the option to smoothly transition into adulthood. I get to go back to Athens and have one or two more years of fun and then I won't be as blindsided when I actually hit the real world.

Lesson #1: Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to find...

I took this internship in the fall of 2011 without knowing where I would end up in the summer. I was ready to have an adventure and it definitely has been everything I expected. It has truly made me want to travel more and not overlook any opportunity that comes my way. It has given me the opportunity to try out one aspect of business and make judgments based on my work. I really feel like I made a difference in my role this summer and I can't wait to continue that feeling when I do decide to enter the working world.

Because I have spent so much time by myself this summer, I have gotten the opportunity to think about my own self management. I want to make sure that going into senior year I remember that the best I can do is be the best version of myself because if I am focused on myself then I will portray my best self to others. The more time I spend worrying about everyone else's opinions of my life, the less time I am spending on supporting myself. If the only lesson I took away from this summer was the idea of supporting my own decisions then I would be a pretty happy camper. I can decide what is going to make my life move forward in the direction that I want to take it and all of the people in my life who really matter are going to be standing behind me when I get to the next fork in the road because like I said, "life is like a box of chocolates...".

Lesson #2: All's fair in love and "business"...

I am still working on my extraversion skills since those tend to be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum for me. Well, there is no better lesson then throwing a small fish into a really big pond and saying sink or swim. I decided to "swim" this summer and after going over my final evaluation I realized there were even more opportunities for me to become stronger both professionally and personally. I need to learn the value of the simple question, "do you have 30 minutes to tell me about your job?" I think if I had realized that lesson earlier than I would of gotten a much better understanding of all the opportunities at a mill location. Also related to this lesson, there is always room to grow in business. A corporation is not going to get better unless there are people within the organization trying to push the envelope.

Personally, there were only so many weekends that I could spend looking at the four walls of my apartment. My mom and sister came into town a few times which made it easier to adjust and I made a few trips to Atlanta and New Orleans. When one of those events wasn't happening then I had time to spend by myself and, believe me, there were some weekends when I craved that time. Those were the weekends when I went sightseeing by myself or ran errands and realized that big girls have things they have to get done and sometimes those things just don't happen during the week. Another big part of this life was that I had to make friends. I had to reach out to sorority sisters or the controller's daughter in order to learn more about Baton Rouge and I wanted to get to know people. I didn't want to spend the whole summer longing to get back to Athens because I didn't know anyone. Tying back into this lesson, if I hadn't been pushing myself to get out of my shell then I would of missed the opportunity to meet some really great people.

The best part about this summer was the opportunity for me to evaluate some of my own relationships. I got the opportunity to talk to one person almost every day the whole summer, but I realized I was falling back into my old ways of fantasizing about something that was more likely not to come true. I got to make the decision about how I wanted to move forward which is a very powerful feeling. This last semester was one of hardest of my life and part of the reason why was because I couldn't seem to let go of another person who is in my life on a pretty consistent basis. By the end of the semester, my roommates were tired of hearing about this person and I was determined to forget about it this summer. My summer didn't start off along that path because I couldn't seem to get this person out of my head and I really thought that it was a lost cause. I was talking with my supervisor today and she finally looked at me and said "speak up, you only live once." If I don't take the chance, then I might regret it later and this year is definitely about not leaving anything behind which should make for an interesting conclusion. Also, I really got to see how my relationships with my friends are going to play out when we are in our own corners of the world. There are people that I know I will always be able to pick up the phone and call no matter the length of time. There are other people who I am really interested to see how the next year plays out and there are other people who I just have to realize were in my life for a reason and we have both moved on for a reason. Even though I really like getting to know people, relationships are one of the things that have no rules, so I will always be trying to define the next step.

Lesson #3: Each part of the world has it's own set of quirks...

Baton Rouge is no exception to this rule. I learned that "Cajun Spice" (don't even ask me where you buy this spice because I don't even know the actual name) could be considered a vegetable within the state lines of Louisiana. Anything and everything that I ordered this summer, undoubtedly, had some sprinkle of this ingredient and let me tell you, my tongue definitely has a higher spice tolerance.

Jersey Shore is not the only place where you can find guidos! There are also some located within East Baton Rouge Parish at the pool of my apartment complex. I do not know why people from New York/New Jersey like to move down below the Mason Dixon Line but these people at the pool are probably some of the most interesting sights of the summer.

The accent is like nothing else you will hear in your entire life and it is even harder to describe to someone who has never been to these parts of the United States. Need a lesson, go watch an episode of Swamp People and turn back their accent about three notches. That's what you hear on a regular basis in Baton Rouge.

Lesson #4: All good things come to an end...

I spent the last week moving back home and finishing up my internship in Atlanta. My presentations went really well and I got to hang out with all the other interns. One of the relationships that I described above came to a conclusion and it really helped me realize how much I have grown this summer. I also realized that my work really paid off this summer and I have the option to continue to make a difference in this company. I am so glad that I spent the summer the way that I did. I do not regret anything and I am ready to apply these lessons the next few years of my life. The next few months are probably going to be the most hectic of my life but I am ready to take them on and continue to dangle through life!

Swamp Tour Time
New Orleans!
Corporate!
Apartment in Baton Rouge!
 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dangling through a Routine Life

Well, since I got back from New Orleans it has been a pretty average working girl life. It seems crazy to me that I only have a week left in Baton Rouge. The first month of my internship went by just right but doing a lot of the same makes the days go by faster.

It was really interesting having a break right in the middle of the week. I feel like July 4th was much more laid back this year because if you didn't take vacation then it was just another day. Unfortunately, I got a really bad headache so I ended up staying in and watching the fireworks on TV.

On Friday, I settled in for a relaxing weekend. I tried to get to the pool to tan but the weather has been rainy here, so I have not gotten the opportunity. On Sunday, I decided to head to the Denham Springs Antique District. I really don't want to be on my own but it would be fun to decorate an apartment with cool furniture. My headache returned so it was an early night, getting ready to return to work on Monday.

Movie of the Week #1: Water for Elephants- one of the best movies that I have watched this summer. It made me want to read the book which is a powerful statement for a movie. Yes, the movie had some downer parts but it was definitely a good way to spend a Friday night.

Movie of the Week #2: Friday Night Lights- this movie might not be new. I might have seen it before but I couldn't remember. It was definitely different from the other movie I watched this weekend. I really like sports movies that are based on real life but I don't know if I will need to watch this movie again.

This week has really been about preparing myself for the next few weeks. I have had a constant headache for the past five days and I can slowly feel the stress start to build back up in my shoulders. I have a lot to get done before I leave Baton Rouge including finishing some projects at work and packing up my apartment. I also have to get ready to present my final project to corporate which makes me nervous because I am such an introverted person. After all of that is said and done then I have to worry about going back to Athens and figuring out how I want to tackle my senior year of college.

I am really not ready for college to end. There are so many options in front of me and I already have a hard time making decisions. I am so glad that I have gotten the opportunity to work for such a big company this summer. It has given me the ability to figure out where I see myself in the next couple of years. The best thing about my internship has been getting to see a huge manufacturing operation and seeing how that ties into the financial information that the accounting department is handling.

I guess the biggest lesson the past few weeks has been that you have to search for the adventure in life. It is really easy to get into a routine and not having anything to show for a full week of experiences. I know that no matter what I am doing I want to keep myself active. I do not know if that will mean working out more regularly or continuing to stay involved in outside organizations, but I know that I am going to need something to fill my life besides just going to work 40 hours a week.

My goal for the last week in Baton Rouge is to rejuvenate the spirit of adventure that I had at the beginning of the summer. I want to make sure that I do not miss out on any last possibility to have a great experience that will become a story I tell my kids one day! I am currently not satisfied with having a routine life, so I am determined to change it. Watch in my next post how I make this week great and everything I learned this summer!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dangling in NOLA!

That's right, I spent the weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana! I had been looking forward to this weekend since I got to Baton Rouge. I wasn't really too worried about planning anything and I was just going to have a good time!

I was not disappointed with our weekend excursion! I got to get off early and got to New Orleans just in time to pick up Audrey, Leslie and Julia at the airport. We made our way to our hotel in the center of the French Quarter and got ready for our first night on the town. We headed to Pat O'Briens thinking that we could eat dinner and listen to the dueling pianist. We were wrong and it ended up with us getting hurricanes before dinner. After that we realized that we really needed dinner so we headed out to Bourbon Street to find some authentic New Orleans food. We ate at a restaurant overlooking Bourbon Street and really got to see all the hype. We joined the hype and walked down most of Bourbon but then we decided to go in some place and just hang out. Unfortunately, we all got tired pretty quickly, so it was an early night.

On Saturday, we headed to Cafe Beignet to try the first of two beignet places. It was definitely a great way to start the morning. After that it was up to the Garden District for a walking tour. I loved the Garden District because it was the perfect combination of old style houses and a lovely community. We got to see Sandra Bullock's house as well as Archie Manning's and John Goodman's. We also got to learn about some of the legends of New Orleans. It was definitely a lot of walking but I am glad that I got to see it. We headed to the opposite side of the French Quarter for a muffalatta and then come shopping. I didn't find anything to buy but I did start thinking about the possibility of decorating my own apartment. I can't wait to be able to walk around cities and find something that is my style. We decided that we didn't need to experience Bourbon Street again, so we got a great dinner at the Red Fish Grill and then went back to Pat O'Brien's for some more music.

On Sunday, we went to Brennan's for the traditional New Orleans brunch. It was my first time trying a poached egg and I can't say I will be eating another one any time soon. Everything else we got was great though. I really want to learn how to make a baked apple now. We didn't have anything planned for Sunday but it was nice to feel like we had a little bit of a break.

Overalll, this weekend was what I was expecting it to be. I loved being able to travel and see friends. It is a completely new experience for me to be able to go somewhere by myself. I am glad that my parents have pointed out how cool cities can be when you decide to be a tourist and this weekend just reassured me that I need to take advantage of the opportunities to travel now.

P.S. I wish my camera would load pictures right now. Expect a post with just pictures when I get back to Atlanta!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dangling with "Real" Life

I feel like I have gotten into a great rhythm in Baton Rouge. I am on my own during the week and then I get to make some awesome plans over the weekend.

This weekend, my mom and sister came back into town to visit. On Thursday night I decided to catch my mom and sister up on what has been going on in my life recently. I told them about some of my future plans and some of the people that I have gotten to know while in Baton Rouge. It was a big learning experience for me because I am stuck in the middle of deciding what is best for me and what is going to make me happy. I am hoping that I can find something that will satisfy both of those wants but I also will never know everything when I am making my final decision. I think one of my biggest lessons this summer is about being my own support system. It would be a lot easier for me to make decisions if I didn't want all of the people close to me to be on the same page. I am not at that stage yet but I think it is only a matter of time.

The next day, we went to the Myrtle's Plantation. It is one of the top 10 most haunted plantations in the United States and my sister just couldn't get enough of all the legends. I usually don't do scary but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. On Saturday, we really became a part of the Bayou by going on a Swamp Tour. My mom is obsessed with the show "Swamp People" and the first thing that our tour guide told us was that you can't believe everything you see on TV. We only saw one little alligator but we learned a lot about different birds and a lot of flowers in the swamp. After that we were looking around the antique shops for a cameo necklace but we didn't have any luck. I am hoping that there will be an antique one in New Orleans this weekend. We were exhausted to say the least, so we spent the rest of the weekend just relaxing in my apartment.

It was another average week at work. It was the first time in a few weeks that I actually worked regular hours, not trying to make up hours to leave early on Friday. I have really started to make note of what I like at work. I like when I get to work with other people. I didn't think I would like collaboration but I think it reminds me how I am helping the other people in the accounting department. I also like having control over my work. The more work that I get to contribute to a project, the more I feel like I am making a difference. I also like projects where I am making a significant difference for the better. I know that realizing what I like about work will help me make a better decision in the coming year.

This past weekend, I got to spend some time by myself. It was nice to feel like I could do whatever I want and that is exactly waht I did. I stayed in bed for a long time on both Saturday and Sunday. I got out of bed to do some sightseeing on Saturday and to go to this great restaurant on Sunday night. It was just what I needed in order to get ready for New Orleans this coming weekend. Unfortunately, I am not feeling too good this week, so hopefully I can kick it in the next few days.

Movie of the Week: Forrest Gump. I know, it's a tradegy that I haven't seen it before now. It was a very interesting movie and I can definitely understand more of the jokes now. I am glad that I am using this movie of the week goal to get caught up on some pretty old movies. I feel like it helps me get caught up with my generation.

Book of the Week: How to Bake a Perfect Life. One of the many books I picked up when Borders was going out of business. It was your typical chick lit novel with a few bread recipes tied in. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it as a summer read in the future.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dangling with Parrotheads and a few other pretty awesome people!

So after working extra hours a few days, I got to head out of work at 3:00 p.m. to catch my flight to Atlanta. I am getting really use to being in the airport and by the end of this trip I was kind of tired of seeing planes fly into the distance.

I headed to Atlanta to see the Jimmy Buffett concert (check that off the bucket list) and boy was it a sight to see. My friends, Audrey and Coey, had the pleasure of coming with me and we will probably talk about this night for awhile. We were first excused of being too young to buy beverages for the tailgate, so we pulled out our IDs and proved the cashier wrong. Once we got to the concert, we picked one of the more chill parking lots that was probably a good mile away from the entrance to the amphitheatre. We made it to the amphitheatre and tried to find a place on the lawn. Lucky us, we picked a great place to see two shows that night. One show was taking place on the stage, the other was taking place two feet in front of us. I won't go into all the details but I will say that the average "Parrothead" is a very interesting bird =) Also, I had my first experience having a beer thrown in my direction. To set the record straight, I did not do anything to deserve this beer being thrown in my direction, I just happen to be in the crossfire of a fight.

The biggest surprise of the evening was when Zac Brown decided to join Mr. Buffett on stage. They sang a few of their collaborative songs which I thought was a great added bonus. All in all, the concert was great. I feel like I got the experience that college students should have and I will definitely go back to one of his concerts one day.

The next day, I got the pleasure of having brunch with my sorority advisor. It was her goal to meet with all the vps individually over the summer and my meeting could not have come at a better time. I got a lot of my feelings out on the table and she really helped me come up with a game plan for the rest of the summer and into the fall semester. I am hoping that I can rebuild some bridges this summer in the land of Delta Gamma. I think it is great that I have gotten away from my responsibilities for awhile and I know I will be ready to come back with a renewed vigor in the fall. I wouldn't be able to feel so good about this experience without the help of my advisor.

I got back to work on Monday and had a pretty relaxing day just catching up on stuff. On Tuesday, I finally got to have dinner with someone my own age because the controller at the plant introduced me to his daughter. We went to a restaurant/bar that someone had suggested to me and I got to try my first po'boy. I am not sure why this sandwich is such a rave down here. It is really just like a seafood sandwich with all the regular fixins. I think it at least needs an unique sauce or something. On Wednesday, I got to participate in a Cycle Count Audit for one of the warehouses and teach someone how to work with Maintenance Labor Reporting. It is great to see the work that I have put into a project being used to improve processes. When I can see that I am helping people is when I really enjoy my job. That night I got to catch up with the president of Delta Gamma and it was absolutely one of the best discussions I have ever had. She reminded me that Delta Gamma is really about the relationship that I make and in order to be a good leader you have to be able to hold yourself and others accountable. I am hoping by the end of this fall semester, we will have made a lasting impact on the chapter and be able to walk away from our experience as great friends. On Thursday, I got to spend a lot of time in the retention shed at work putting together some documentation. It is one of the tasks that has to be done but it's hard to find the right time to do it. I am hoping that the work that I put in this summer will help them to move forward with this project.

Another pretty average week work wise but I am trying to use my time away from work to create meaningful experiences. I am hoping that I can come back to Athens with a new outlook on life and be more aware of how to make my senior year in Athens one for the record books.

Dangling with the Family

So, as soon as I got back from my trip to Atlanta the worldwind adventure kicked up a notch. My mom and sister came into town on Saturday and we decided to go to one of the tourist restaurants in town. My tongue is slowly getting use to the cajun flavor that is used on everything in Baton Rouge. Also, we got to hear some Cajun music and see all the old couples dance which I thoroughly enjoyed...really makes me want to take dance lessons! On Sunday, we decided to make our way to St. Francisville. I got to show my mom and sister where I am working on a daily basis and we took a trip to the back side of the plant to see the new building ang the National Cemetary that is located near the mill.

After a trip around the plant, we made our way to Rosedown Plantation. It is an absolutely beautiful plantation home and has acres of gardens that can be walked through after the tour. We learned about the history of the house and got to take a ton of pictures. I wish my internet was fast enough to post these pictures haha! My biggest discovery about this weekend was that it is great to have people visit you when you are living in a different city. I enjoy the time that I get to spend by myself during the week but living this far away from home has made me realize how important it is to spend time with your family. We got to experience Baton Rouge together and I could not have asked for two better people to keep me company.

This week at work was the first that I got to experience working later hours. I had plans to fly home for the Jimmy Buffett concert, so I had to make up the hours that I was going to be missing on Friday. Fortunately, my supervisor gave me a project that can fill up hours of a day or weeks at a time, so I was not lacking in tasks to complete. I am keeping the company in business these days because I am printing a million invoices, putting them in numerical order, and keying in the appropriate information. That week I also got back to keeping myself accountable by making list in my planner. I knew it was going to come around eventually and it really does make me feel better to be organized.

The best part about the week was probably getting to catch up with one of the other interns. I was really interested in watching the CMT Music Awards but I got caught up in a great conversation instead. I think the best part of the internship is getting to know other people who I might not have met otherwise and I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer brings.

It was a pretty average week for me but I am still trying to absorb every experience. Everything about this situation makes you think and you have to learn how to control what you think about on a regular basis. I know there are some people who would go crazy with this much alone time but I believe it is making me a better person.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dangling with a Business Trip

So, I am kind of behind on posting but I am really trying to remember everything that has been happening the last few weeks and will try to give a complete overview!

I spent my day off watching Cake Boss. It felt great to relax for what feels like the first time this summer! I also got ready to go on my first business trip. On Tuesday, I worked all day and then flew to Atlanta. The Baton Rouge airport is so small! If you get to the airport 30 minutes before your plane leaves then you will probably still make it. It is so different from a big city airport. I got to see my parents because they picked me up at the airport. On Wednesday, we started our internship training in Atlanta. We learned all about the different positions available in the company and learned about the culture. That night we went to the Braves game and they started their winning streak! We had more training on Thursday and then I headed to the airport. I met another intern right before we got on Marta. We had a mishap with the traveling on Marta but we got to laugh about it and we had four hours to waste at Hartsfield-Jackson. I walked through Concourses A-D and got to eat at Sweetwater! It was really tiring taking a business trip during the week. You do so much with such a small amount of time. I feel into bed when I got home from the airport. On Friday, it was the first day of closing which means that I was learning more about general accounting. My sister and mom came into town on Saturday and I was so excited! It is a completely different experience living away from them. They were coming to see me and the town that I live in, so we got to be tourist and I got to enjoy having them around. On Sunday, we went out to St. Francisville to see the Rosedown Plantation. I didn't enjoy all this tourist stuff when I was younger but now that I have a limited time in a city I really want to get the most out of the experience. We ate at a great cafe in St. Francisville and drove around downtown Baton Rouge to see where I should visit on my own.

All-in-all, it was a great week living on my own. I felt grown up by traveling on my own and hosting my mom and sister. I know that life is gong to work out in my favor because I am willing to take chances. I was so shy up until my sophomore year of college and I still have those introvert tendencies but I also realize that I can make myself happy on my own.

Movie of the Week: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- a great movie that really let me just get all my emotions out. There wasn't necessarily one ending. It was one of those movies that let you come to your own conclusions. It was about healing and the bond between families. It was completely different from Top Gun but I needed it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dangling with a Cork

I made it through my first week in Baton Rouge! It was full of learning about Georgia Pacific and figuring out what to do at night but overall it was a great week!

I cooked my first meal on Tuesday night. It was a Dangler standard with pasta and fruit but it has been great getting to decide what I want to eat each day. It cost a lot to provide for yourself but I know it is going to be fun to try different recipes over the summer. Later in the week, I made chicken which was even more of an experience. I didn’t have all the ingredients that I needed to get the pan ready, so I might have burned the butter I used to coat the pan once. After I cleared out the little bit of smoke, I cooked the chicken which I thought was pretty successful. In the end, I put it in the microwave for two minutes just to make sure that it was cooked. I am looking forward to becoming more comfortable over the summer with my chicken cooking skills.

Throughout the week, I was learning all about the processes of the plant and how those processes affect the accounting process. On Tuesday, I got to take a tour of a few of the buildings but I am really looking forward to getting the full tour in a few weeks. There is a huge project going on at the plant right now, so they are being extra cautious with safety. One of the big projects I am going to be working on over the summer is Maintenance Labor Reporting which involves a lot of input from the maintenance workers at the plant and then the accounting department uses their input to analyze cost. I have the opportunity to help with this process and make an impact on how the process works in the future. It will be great to see how all the projects I am working on will progress over the summer.

The most interesting part of the week is having all the time after work. I have realized that I should probably be going out after work to experience Baton Rouge because my weekends are limited but this past week I just wanted to relax at my apartment. I started to study for the GMAT. I don’t think it is going to be as bad as I was expecting it to be but it definitely takes brain power. I also started reviewing my Leonard PDLP because I realized over the course of the semester that there are some crucial elements that I left out when I originally wrote it. It is also great because I can incorporate my feelings about my internship into how I want to move forward in school and in my career.  It’s a great mix of working at the plant, hanging out, and slowly progressing on personal projects.

Now, the explanation for the title of this post. When I got here last weekend I went grocery shopping and decided that I deserved a little treat, so I bought a bottle of wine. I checked out and never even considered how I was going to enjoy my treat. I figured that an apartment complex that caters to business people would have something as simple as a wine opener. Next thing I know I am looking up makeshift corkscrews on my phone (internet was still out at this point). When that didn’t work, I decided to add a corkscrew to the grocery list. With everything going on at work, I didn’t get to the store again until this Saturday. I made sure to get a corkscrew and that night I decided to enjoy a glass of my treat. Well, once again I could not get the cork to budge. I was about to break the bottle when the cork finally gave in. It’s funny how one experience can really make you think about living on your own. I have spent a lot of time by myself this weekend and even though I like having the time by myself, I don’t want to miss out on the experience of meeting people from Baton Rouge. It’s only the first week, so I still have a lot of the adventure left!
 
Movie of the Week: It’s my goal to watch more movies this summer because I tend to miss out on a lot of movies and I have the time to do it. So this week, it was Top Gun. I had to see what the Danger Zone is all about since my nickname incorporates it. It was a good movie…a great mix of action and a love story.

Dangling through the First Day

So, this entry has a similar title as a previous post but a very different experience.
Today was my actual first day at my internship. I got up at 6:00 a.m. and got all ready to go. I wore my new favorite business casual outfit and straightened my hair for the occasion. I got in the car and was worried because it was a little bit farther than I was expecting it to be but fortunately there is hardly any traffic in Louisiana, so I made it right on time. I walked around the whole administrative building meeting all the people in a few different departments. It is going to be hard to remember everyone’s names but I am sure I will get the hang of it eventually. My supervisor showed me my cubicle and we got all signed into all the systems I am going to be using throughout the summer.

Then, we were off to lunch at a great restaurant that is down the road from the office. It was a little cafĂ© that had a variety of menu options including seafood and sandwiches. I had a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese which is probably one of the best lunches I will have all summer. After lunch, my supervisor continued to show me around Zachary and then we went to get me some safety shoes that I will need to wear when I am working in the manufacturing part of the plant. I never dreamed that I would have to wear safety shoes during an internship but its all part of the experience. Also, I pretty much decided today that I will be wearing pretty casual clothes all summer. It’s upsetting that I won’t get to wear all of my new skirts but it gives me a reason to go buy some more tops!

After we got back to the office, my supervisor was helping with some utility issues, so I got my email organized and starting looking at my roles, responsibilities and expectations for the summer. I am going to be learning so much and working on so many different projects. I am really excited about everything that I will be learning and I think that it will give me a great understanding of business and where I see myself fitting into the business world. I started working on a project today to help reconcile some tax issues that the facility has been dealing with. I didn’t completely understand what I was doing in the beginning but I took everyone’s advice and starting asking a lot of questions. It’s so cool because now when I go into work tomorrow I already have a project waiting for me.

I wanted to reward myself with Mexican food after work today because I had a craving for cheese dip. To my surprise, Baton Rouge does not have any of the standard Mexican places I am use to dining at in Athens. I tried a new place but their queso is definitely not as good. Now, I am just trying to stay awake until a little bit later. It was kind of an exhausting day but I am so grateful that I am getting this experience. I am ready to go back to work tomorrow and then possibly get started on all the other stuff I have planned for the summer. I am using the excuse that I don’t have internet to take a few more days off from my outside responsibilities. Well, I hope today is an indication of how the rest of the summer is going to go because if so then I know it will be a worthwhile experience.

Dangling through Day Two

So today was a day to get settled into Baton Rouge. I basically unpacked everything yesterday except for the few bags of stuff I want to work on this summer. It didn’t take too long tonight to get that stuff organized and I have started to make the “To Do” List of things to get accomplished. I can’t forget that I am on an adventure though, so I have to experience the local culture. I guess talking to the people at the office tomorrow will help me to figure out exactly what I need to do.

I went to lunch with my supervisor, my mentor and the controller of the accounting department today. We went to the PF Chang’s right around the corner from my apartment. I wasn’t in the mood to try the local flair just yet. I learned a little bit about what I am going to be doing at the plant but mostly we talked about food. It just reinforced the fact that I will most likely be spending a lot of my money on eating out this summer. After our lunch, I decided to give myself a tour rather than follow the GPS. I looked through the Towne Center shopping center and went into a few of the boutique shops. After that I decided to go to the other side of my apartment complex in hopes of finding LSU.

I saw a lot of the places that had been suggested for me to try and after pulling out the GPS for a little bit of guidance I found the campus. It is really flat in Louisiana, so I am sure walking around the campus is not as strenuous as in Athens. I don’t know what most of the buildings house but their architecture is unlike anything I have seen. All of the buildings are made of brick or stone and there are trees everywhere. It looks a lot like the neighborhoods in San Antonio which made the campus feel very homey. One of the first points on campus that I saw was the stadium. I recognized it because there was a huge sign acknowledging the championship seasons for the Tigers. I didn’t drive all the way around it but I can imagine the kind of tailgating that goes on during game days and I can’t wait to come back and experience it one time.

The other point that I was interested in was finding the Greek houses. They have a Greek Park about the size of the one in Athens and then there is Lakeshore Drive. I haven’t been to a lot of university campuses, so I don’t know how Milledge compares but Lakeshore Drive is absolutely beautiful. Like the name suggest, all of the Greek Houses have a view of the lake meaning they all have wonderful porches. Most of the houses are decently sized and they all share a huge parking lot behind all the houses. I got to meet the DG house mother because as I was walking around taking pictures she stopped me because she saw the letters on my car. Also all the houses are located around the corner from the student recreation center, I couldn’t get my bearings completely so I don’t know how far they are from the center of campus but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk out the backdoor and have a fully equipped gym. Running down Milledge is nice, but sometimes you need a change.  All in all, it was a great experience getting to see how another university is set up. I am sure I will be touring the campus again this summer, maybe I will even sign up for one of their tours, so that I can learn a little bit of history.

The rest of the evening was filled with settling in, working out in the apartment gym and eating some dinner. I will say there is not really a good place to eat in my apartment because the bar is too tall for the barstools that have been provided. My biggest realization today is that my mother has been right for the past 21 years. It is really nice to drive around a city to get a feel for the culture. Baton Rouge isn’t as centered on the university campus as Athens. I also feel like Baton Rouge has grown steadily but there are definitely still parts of town that maintain the roots. The biggest thing I need to learn is to ask questions. I think I was a little too worried today to speak up but in the end I need to know the information. I just have to get to a point where I feel comfortable which I am hoping happens sooner rather than later. I guess I will test out trying to ask more questions tomorrow at work but for now it is off to get ready for the next step of the adventure.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dangling through Day One

It has been a really busy day! Why, you might ask? I moved to Baton Rouge, LA to start my 10-week long adventure.

Lesson #1: Adulthood hits you fast

First Rule of Business: Always bring your own toilet paper

I drove about 560 miles today. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting though. I stopped in Montgomery, got gas and stretched my legs. I stopped in Mobile, got lunch, got gas and stretched my legs. At that point, I had made it through more than half of my trip. I decided that unless I needed gas again that I was going to make it to my apartment without any more stops. The last hour of the trip was probably the worst. I must have been excited in the morning because miles seem to float away. In the afternoon, I would look at the GPS every five minutes expecting the miles to keep whizzing by. Fortunately, my sorority little sister called to chat which made the afternoon less tiresome.

I got my first impression of Baton Rouge by driving down the road to my apartment complex. It seems like a nice town. I think it is somewhere between Athens and Atlanta based on size. It reminds me of San Antonio a little bit but that might be because it is flat. There is a really nice shopping center less than a mile from my complex and my complex is one of many “execu-stays” in the area. I got into my apartment and unloaded my car without any issues. I started to fill out the paperwork that was left for me and look around at the apartment. I quickly realized that even though the apartment was furnished it was lacking some key essentials i.e. the first rule of business. It seems very funny to me that I will be spending my summer with a consumer products firm yet the apartment that they set up for me failed to have any consumer products.
 
Upon this realization, I headed off to the store i.e. lesson #1. I got a great GPS guided tour of Baton Rouge because it could not lead me in the right direction to get to Wal-Mart. There are some quaint houses right around the corner from my apartment and the main roads that I will be driving on have tons of stores. I finally found the Wal-Mart (my GPS never really led me directly to it). I basically walked through every aisle of the store because I needed most the essentials as well as food to get me through my first week at work. As I was looking around for all the items I realized that I have been living a pleasured life for the past 21 years. I have literally always been able to move my stuff and everything else is waiting for me. Adulthood is realizing that providing for yourself is a much bigger task than previously expected. I need to start making money because I am quickly realizing that nothing comes cheap in this world. I also realized that I have no idea how to take care of maintenance on an apartment. I am without internet and television at the moment because I was told that they were going to be provided for me and when I got here I saw a lot of "salt and pepper" on the TV screen. How does an adult work and be present for things such as getting cable set up? I realized even in college, most of the time, your parents come up to help you set up an apartment. I literally moved everything in by myself and figured out that my best bet would be to go to the store. I can’t believe today is the first day of this crazy adventure. I know it is going to be a fun and exciting adventure but right now I am exhausted thinking about this crazy thing called growing up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dangling in Port Hudson, Louisiana

So I just got my location assignment for the summer. I will be working for 10 weeks in Port Hudson, Louisiana. I took this internship because of the possibility of being away from home for a short amount of time. It was kind of scary to see where I would officially be working but the more I research the more excited I am becoming about discovering this small town and the bigger cities surrounding it.

Info:
Port Hudson, LA

As you can see on the map, it really is in the middle of the lower portion of Louisiana.

Time to Baton Rouge: approximately 30 minutes

Time to New Orleans: approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes

So it's not too far out in the middle of nowhere. I haven't spent any time in either Baton Rouge or in New Orleans, so I will definitely be taking a trip or two.

Distance from Atlanta to Port Hudson: approximately 10 hours; haven't decided yet if I am going to try to drive by myself

Price of a Plane Ticket: approximately $300; going to spend once because I am coming back to Atlanta to see Jimmy Buffett at the beginning of June

Plant Information: Make consumer products and communication papers. The main brands that are housed in the plant are Brawny paper towel, Quilted Northern/Angel Soft bath tissue as well as paper used in printing. Maybe, I will come back with a lifetime supply of bath tissue haha!

I contacted my former advisor for my sorority because she lives in Baton Rouge and she told me that she thought I would probably be living in Zachary or Baton Rouge because there aren't very many places to live in Port Hudson. A lot of my research is based on that fact since I can't find that much information on Port Hudson. The biggest fact that I keep finding is that there was a Civil War battle named after this city. I guess I will have to check out the reenactment.

Some restaurants that I found in Baton Rouge: The Chimes, Fleur de Lis Pizza, and Chelsea's Cafe. It looks like I will be eating a lot of seafood this summer and I might just have to try alligator.

Attractions:
  • I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to tour LSU. My former advisor already told me that she will introduce me to some of the Gamma Zetas, so I will be able to hang out with girls my own age.  
  • Rural Life Museum
  • Shaw Center for the Arts
  • Baton Rouge Zoo
  • Downtown Area, etc.
Plus, there is the time that I want to spend in New Orleans. I plan to make every minute that I am not working worth it. I am waiting to hear back on my housing arrangement for the summer and hopefully I will have a better idea about what is going to be near me. This blog is going to be a great resource for me this summer, so that I can share with the rest of the world about my adventure.

So here goes nothing. Port Hudson, I hope you are ready for a 21 year old who is ready to be on her own and looking to have one of the best summers of her life, learning as much as she can about accounting and even more about the world around her. Wish me good luck!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dangling through Easter

This blog post actually starts with a story that happened about a year and a half ago. My freshman year of college I would constantly get asked by my mom if I had gotten up on Sunday morning and made my way to the local church. Each and every Sunday the answer to that question was a no. I didn't feel comfortable at the on campus church and the idea of walking into a church by myself freaked me out.

The fall of my sophomore year I moved into the sorority house and I quickly realized that there were a lot of other DGs who I could go to church with. I would make plans to go with these girls and then on Sunday morning they would bail. Well instead of getting out of my nice clothes, I decided to brave the hallow halls on my own. I realized that making the decision to go to church in Athens was probably one of my first adult decisions. I was making the decision to follow in my parents guidance even though it wasn't required. In the spring semester of my sophomore year, everything kind of fell apart and I didn't make it to church between Christmas and Easter.

Fast forward one year later and I only missed one service during the season of Lent. It feels absolutely wonderful to know that going to church and having a relationship with God is something that I want for myself. As I child, I felt like church was something that was required and more times than not I didn't know what I was getting out of it. Now, I arrange my Sunday schedule around getting up and going to church. I long for the Sunday sermon because I can't wait for the next lesson I am going to learn about the week's readings. My church in Athens isn't even as nice as my church at home. I am used to getting everything printed in the pamphlet, but in Athens they expect you to follow along and read the readings ahead of coming to service...probably has been beneficial to me.

It has been a completely different experience for me but it has also taught me so much about myself. My two goals for Lent were to limit my Facebook time to once a day and to work out more often. I can say that I did the best I could with both objectives. I have realized that our society places too much emphasis on the information that we get online rather than the information we actually learn from other people. This Lent season also made me realize how important it is to spend a small time on yourself. Milledge Avenue became the best gym in town and I started to look forward to taking 30 minutes just to run down to Five Points and back.

Each week when I would take my seat in the pew and listen to the sermon, I felt like God knew exactly what I needed to hear. I became so much closer to God over the past 40 days because I allowed myself to trust in his plan and realized more fully that there is a reason my life is progressing the way that it is.

Today, that idea was fully cemented in my head when Father Tripp started talking about resurrection. It became clear to me that I cannot live without faith in my life. God loves each of us. He strengthens us and forgives us for our sins. I want to have him guiding me in my life because I know there are times when I don't know who to turn to.

I can say that this Easter season has been one of great learning for me. I have learned about myself in a lot of different ways and I have grown closer to God. In my 21 years of life, I trust God more now than any other time I can remember. It also doesn't hurt that this weekend was probably one of the best in recent memory. I got to hang out with my dad on Friday, study/catch up all day Saturday and then see my extended family today for a Cascarone filled celebration.

God is great, God is good, let me thank him for this life!  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dangling with Expression

I know it's an interesting name for a blog post but it just came to me and I am running with it.

Expression is an integral part of everyone's life. There are the expressions that we show on our face, the way that we act and the things that we say (even the witty comments) that convey to the rest of the world our personalities.

I know as someone who worries about other people's opinions on a regular basis I tend to get caught up in the "expression" that I am making. I have also started to realize that out of all the people in the world, I am the least likely person to actually be able to decipher my own expressions. Yes, I can remember parts of conversations that I wish I hadn't said and I think about how I could of conveyed myself differently but I am not a witness to my facial expressions and actions.

I guess for someone like me that is the hardest part about my interactions with people. There are so many things that I want to convey but I get so nervous about situations that they end up going all wrong. There are moments in my life when I would rather just be up front because in one fell swoop I can say what's on my mind rather than beating around the bush. I guess I like that approach because I only have to work up the courage once to express what I want rather than continually analyzing each interaction that takes place. To take a different spin on it, I should be grateful for anytime that I get to interact with people and to be my best self then I shouldn't have to worry about what others think of me.

I am aware of how people express themselves because I have forced myself to pick up on it. In my nature, I am shy and introverted (they are different) which can make it extremely difficult sometimes to express my perspective. There are times when it is extremely difficult for me to let others know how I feel. It could be something as simple as asking someone if they want to have lunch, but I will worry about it and get myself into a tizzy about what to say and how to act. It's a good thing I don't see my own facial expressions that often because it's one less thing to worry about.

I am slowly learning how to better express myself in this world that is made for extroverts. Sometimes, I just wish that I could take the pressure off myself. I want to be able to be myself around someone and for them to pick up on what I am trying to convey and then have the courage to tell me what I want to hear. I want a flawless introduction to a relationship but I also know there is a slim to none chance of that actually happening.

I guess all of these thoughts are leading me back to one conclusion. I have to have more confidence in myself. There are going to be times when what I am conveying is not really what I want to express. I have to strive to be genuine and know that people make mistakes. And in the end, what I wanted to say was expressed somehow, maybe just not the way I wanted it to be. I also have to remember that there is a reason that everything is happening in this way, so small little things that I worry about don't even matter in the grand scheme of things. One day I will get everything I want and when I look back I won't remember what frustrated me when I was trying to get.

I guess my idea of expressing oneself turned into something a whole lot deeper but it's because my emotions are tied into my words and actions and in the end my emotions get the best of me.

Side note: One of the best aspects of expressions is that we can make them our own. One of my grandlittles has perfected the art of catchphrases. I frequently "black out" when I lose my train of thought when I am around her, not to mention all the other catchphrases whose meanings are still unknown.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dangling with Me

Well, I got back to Athens about 8 hours ago and I have successfully put my luggage away. It's kind of sad that 8 hours of time equals one task complete but I have to catch up with my roommates and get back into the swing of holding a leadership position.

I was kind of stressing about everything that has been going on in my life, so I decided to take a minute for me. I took a shower because it was something that had to happen but I was hoping it would get me out of my frenzied state. It was definitely the best thing I could of done for myself in the moment. I realized that today's society expects a lot out of our generation. I am involved in so many organizations on campus and each one is giving me valuable experience but sometimes everything in my life collides. It makes me question what is really important to me.

I realized tonight that "me" has to be one of my first priorities. I just spent a week at home doing what I wanted. I read a good book, caught up on my tv shows and most importantly caught up with my family and friends. I came back to Athens knowing that I had about two pages worth of stuff to do and hyperventilating when that list was extended. I am so worried about "doing". I realized tonight that I have to combine doing with "being". I want to be a good friend/daughter. I want to be successful. I want to be in love with my endeavors, so that success comes easily. I am living a pretty good life right now but I know I could spend a little bit more time on me.

I have learned that there are numerous people who have let life pass them by. They have done what they needed to do in order to survive but haven't given much thought to everything life has to offer. My resolve is to make sure that I make time for me. In each phase of my life, I want to question myself and make sure that what I am doing is helpful to me. Taking a step back every once in awhile is nice and necessary...hopefully I can make it a more regular habit in the future.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dangling with an Extra Day

February 29th, 2012 or Leap Day! It only comes around once every four years and there is a lot of hype about this all important day.

Last week, I was given a challenge by the Scholars Program that I am involved in. They posed the question, "what are you going to do that you can only do once every four years?" I wanted to accept the challenge, but when I really started to think about it I realized it was slightly impossible. The only thing that I know I can do today is write the date on as many pieces of paper as possible. And I didn't come up with that one...it was suggested to me by one of my neighbors.

I realized that you make the decision to complete each action in life. If you want to do something more than once every four years then you can. Leap Day should be about living on the edge! It's a reminder to have a sense of spontaneity in your life.

I didn't get much of that in my life today. It was filled with a lot of studying for the exam that I had tonight. I also have another exam tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., so it is safe to say that I haven't been sleeping much this week. Thinking about Leap Day, my goal is start living on the edge a little bit more. I want to make decisions that bring excitement into my life and not feel like I have to wait around for four years for those actions to have a lasting impact.

Today, will be my only Leap Day while I am in college. I guess that could have led to a bucket list full of spur of the moment activities to experience while in college. What today means to me is a reflection on the first two months of 2012 and remember that my goal is for this year to be better than 2011!

2012: about taking risks and enjoying each and every moment!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dangling with Sisterhood

There's a special kind of freedom sisters enjoy. Freedom to share innermost thoughts, to ask a favor, to show their true feelings. The freedom to simply be themselves. Unknown

I got the pleasure of planning my sorority's sisterhood retreat this weekend. The purpose of this retreat is for our chapter to renew our commitment to Delta Gamma as well as to develop the bonds of sisterhood and friendship.

I will admit that I procrastinated planning this event slightly. My procrastination was helpful this time because we decided to change the retreat at the last minute. I was still up until all hours of the night getting everything ready but the change was definitely for the better.
During the retreat, our chapter plans out the goals that they would like to see achieved this year. We came up with a great list of items that I am excited to take action on to make our chapter better. Each member class got to come together and define what they want their four years in Delta Gamma to represent. Both of these activities were meaningful to me because each member starts to understand more fully what being a Delta Gamma truly means.
There was chaos throughout the day since I was trying to facilitate while also participating in activities. It's hard to get 180 people to all be on the same page at the same time. The worst moment of the day was when I let my temper get the best of me. I snapped at a few of the members because they were not participating in the activities. I realized after the event that the way I handled the situation was probably uncalled for. If I had stepped back from the situation then I might have been able to better handle myself under pressure.
The last activity of the day is one of our rituals and it always puts everyone in a good mood. I got to hear wonderful stories about Delta Gamma and add this day to my collection of memories made in Delta Gamma. It is going to be really sad next year when it is my last year as a collegiate member. I have learned so much from this chapter and I am a completely different person than the one who accepted a bid almost three years ago. One of my sisters said that "Delta Gamma encourages you to be the best version of yourself." I am so happy that is the case because I would not be as capable as I am today without my sisters by my side.
The best part of the day was after the event when people were telling me how much they enjoyed it. I am a self proclaimed people pleaser so when I can't make everyone happy it gets to me. It was a boost to my confidence that the plans I put in place were well received by everyone.

The night ended with an A Cappela tournament at the Morton Theater. The Accidentals from UGA took home the top prize and will be competing in the Semifinals in March. After that whirlwind of a day, I was exhausted.

Delta Gamma for hope, for strength, for life!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dangling through Love

Let me preface this post by saying that if you are expecting a romantic story, you can stop reading now. This post is inspired by this quote that showed up on my daily calendar!

"The things we truly love stay with us always, locked in our hearts as long as life remains."
- Josephine Baker

Throughout life, we are asked what we are truly passionate about or what in life makes us happy. Last year, I resigned to the fact that being completely happy is impossible in life. It was better to be more focused on being content because it was a more achieveable goal. I think that was a momentary idea because I have come to realize that it just depends on the day. The days when I am focused on the things I love are usually the days that I feel much better about life in general. I think these days also concide with days where I am less stressed, so overall they are just better.

I wanted to elaborate on the things I truly love because it's important to realize them and cherish them.

1. My Family: I would not be the person I am today without the people who have been with me for my entire life or the people who I have choosen to be my family. These are the people who challenge me but also support me when my decisions do not go as planned. They are always going to be the first people I turn to in life even when their advice isn't necessarily what I want to hear.

2. Great Conversations: I like to consider myself an open book once you crack open the cover. I love asking people about their opinions and even though I have the ability to live my life in a completely different way, I like to talk to people about what has worked for them. I think this trait has started more in college but I just want to get to know people. I want to be friends with as many people as possible because it adds so many dimensions to my life.

3. A Bubble Bath and a Good Book: Since the beginning of college, this activity has become a rare occasion. I think I would be immensely happier if I had my own bathroom, so that I could enjoy a bubble bath whenever I wanted. A bubble bath confines you to a space for however long you want. It is the perfect opportunity to catch up on a book or just think about life. Also, there are not as many opportunities to just sit down and enjoy a book. I have so many books that I want to read, but not as much time to complete them. That is another goal for this year...to spend a little bit more time learning through reading (and I don't mean required textbooks). I think this activity encompasses the idea of the power of relaxation. I like knowing my limit and being able to take a step back from the situation.

4. Being Independent: I like the opportunity to make my own choices and to feel secure in saying that life can change in an instant. I came into college thinking that I would never want to live/travel outside the Southeast region, let alone the United States. It's just not something that interested me. Now, I am looking at the next two years of my life and regretting not studying abroad my first two years of college. It's those kind of decisions that I like being able to take ownership of. I think a lot of people equate this idea to wanting to be by myself. I realize that the timeline I have had planned out in my head since age 4 is probably shifting with each passing day, but I also realize that when those big milestones come I will be willing and able to change to accomodate them because they will be a new, exciting experience. I think this idea can also meaning trusting what is going to happen in life. There is a plan and we can do what we want to influence our lives, but in the end it's going to work out.

5. Giving back to the world: Walking into a Habitat for Humanity meeting my sophomore year of high school literally put my life on a whole new path. Even though my family was always very giving, I never understood how much could be done to make the world a better place. If I don't sponsor a Habitat home in the future, my life will not be complete. I came up with this crazy vision during my Leonard class last semester about starting a foundation. I don't know how my life will progress to get to this goal but I know that at the end of my life I want to have made a difference on the world around me.

6. Knowing Myself: I think this process was accelerated by my participation in the Leonard program. I think it is also just a step in the college process. I understand much better now why I act the way I do and I know that some traits have been with me since the day that I was born. By understanding all those aspects of my character, I can make sure that the decisions I make are the best for me.

These are the six things that I can think of right in this moment. They are overarching ideas that make up so much of my life. One day, I will write a blog about all the little things that go on in my life that make it enjoyable on a daily basis.

I guess the "things we truly love" could also be compared to our values. I am discovering on a more daily basis how much life has to offer. I want to take advantage of opportunities as they come along but I also want to remember what "is locked in my heart as long as life remains".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dangling on a High Wire

This past weekend was one of the best of my life! I had the pleasure of spending 48 hours with 29 other amazing Leonards and learned a little bit about myself as well.

The campus transit bus took off at 2:00 p.m. and I can't say that I was looking forward to a four hour drive on a bus that usually drives around in a circle all day. The front of the bus was pretty chill. Most of us were reading or playing on our phones while the back of the bus was playing Catchphrase! We made our way to Chick-fil-A's Winshape Camp located at Berry College. I never went to camp growing up, so it was fun to get to experience it for a weekend.

Our theme for the weekend was Treasure Quest. We made the comparison that 5 year olds treasure objects that they can put in a bag and carry around with them while 95 year olds enjoy the memories they have made throughout a lifetime. In between those two time periods, our treasure changes. I realized that I want to make sure that my family always stays in the forefront of my mind. I want to have stability in my life, but there are very few aspects of my job that I am particular about because I know a job is just going to lead me to that stability which is more important to me.

I was questioning myself on Friday because I know that servitude is also very important to my future career goals. I came up with the crazy idea to start my own foundation but I am not really sure how to even move my life in that direction. By the end of the weekend, I realized that it starts with taking the first step.

Recess!!
Saturday, our day was full of low and high ropes courses. I enjoyed getting to feel like a child again, playing games on the field like it was recess. The Black Team also started to work together in a few of the team challenges. At lunch, I told everyone the old wives tale that my name use to be "Danger", so now I have another nickname to add to the list. We had the high ropes course in the afternoon and I was much more nervous than I was expecting. On all three of the obstacles, I stopped about halfway up because I was really questioning if I wanted to complete these challenges. The Black Team was great about encouraging all the members and those 9 other people are why I got through the high ropes course.

Black Team
The most rewarding experience was the Saturday night lecture. We all brought a momento to share with the group. It was an object from our life representing a story that we wanted to share with the group. I learned so much about the 29 other Leonards during this conversation. What I really wanted to convey with my story is that even though I am shy, I want to experience life to the fullest. Once again, I realized that it starts with the taking the first step.

Sunday was the final day of the retreat. It was enjoyable because our class finally got to assume our role as "official" Leonards and start to plan the upcoming year. My reflection from the weekend is much more then I will share here. My biggest take away is that in order to live life I can't be scared to take the first step. I have to live with intention and even if I don't know where the path leads I have to believe that the first step is headed in the right direction. Before this retreat, I thought my mantra for the year would be "Go Big or Go Home". I think believing in having a purpose in life and intentionally trying to reach that purpose are a much better use of my efforts.

This weekend I challenged myself. I was truly dangling on a high wire trying to figure out the best way to reach my goal. I feel more confident about myself after this weekend. It is 48 hours that I will never forget!

High Wire

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dangling through 2011

I made plans to hang out with my roommate on New Year's Eve and due to certain circumstances, we ended up meeting to get ice cream. She told me how she had written a post reflecting on 2011 and I thought it was a great idea. Well, 6 days into 2012 here are I reflecting on the previous year.

 
When I actually started thinking about this post, I didn't think that 2011 was any different from the other 21 years in my life. Wrong: if I truly reflect on everything that happened this year, I realize that I made 2011 worthwhile and a year to remember.

 
Pulling out all the stops to get bundled up!
It started off with a bang in January with Snowpocalypse. I was already back in Athens when we got more than 8 inches of snow and school was called off for three days. I spent the time counting all the money from the Gift Wrap Fundraiser and hanging out in the Deeg with about 70 other sisters. By the time school started everyone was ready to get back to work!

 
At the end of January, I finally got up the nerve to ask a guy to our Hawks Date Night. It was pretty fun up until the point we had to walk all the way around Philips Arena in the monsoon. In the end, I learned to figure out where the buses are going to be located before getting off. I also learned that in order to live a fulfilling life sometimes you have to step out of your shell and I think that stuck with me for the rest of the year.

 
March was ordinary. I came home for Spring Break and made the decision to drop Tax Accounting. Some of the stress from 2010 had carried over into 2011, so I had to do something to get myself back on track. April is usually a month of stress. There were Delta Gamma events everywhere and I was gearing up for finals after my first semester of Accounting classes. I came home for Easter but it was one of those times where I was just waiting to get back to Athens because I couldn't let myself get out of finals mode.

 
May: I finished the semester off somewhat to my liking and attended my first wedding for a sorority sister. It was a month to rejuvenate before starting my job. I also got to spend a week at the beach with my dad's family. I absolutely love my little cousins and getting to see them grow up.
Throughout June and July, I worked 8 hours a day, five days a week trying to make enough money to live on throughout the semester. I realized that I never wanted to be forced to nanny/babysit again and I also took notes on how I want to raise my own children. I read all the Harry Potter books for the first time.
 
I started off August with Spirit Week and Recruitment for Delta Gamma. It was great knowing what to expect this year and we ended up getting over 70 amazing new Delta Gammas. We started back to classes and I once again was taking Tax Accounting. I also started my first Leonard class. I was accepted into a Scholars program where we learn about personal and organizational leadership. In the end I wrote a book on my leadership style and I how I wanted to contribute to the world.
 
In September, I once again asked a different guy to our Braves Date Night. I am getting pretty good at spur of the moment type stuff...I had a friend cheering me on haha :) My Leonard class also started on our Capstone Service Learning project. We are working with Classic City High School which is a school in Athens for disengaged students. I worked with the team building group to prepare exercises for the school. I definitely saw another side of Athens and it sparked my interest in working with education during my career.
 
October is another one of those months that just blows by because there is so much stuff going on. I met with the namesake of the my leadership program Mr. Leonard and it was one of those days where he said exactly what I needed to hear. His best piece of advice was "the only place you can't get out of is jail, so don't go there, but anywhere else is free game." Delta Gamma also hosted our annual fall philanthropy event, Low Country Boil. We raised over $7,000 for Service for Sight and the Guide Dog Foundation and I got to spend some time with my dad who came to help cook. I went to the mountains with a few girls and celebrated my roommate's 21st birthday. My grandlittles got initiated into the sisterhood I adore so much. And last but not least, I went to my first Georgia Florida game. It was a weekend to remember for sure and we won the game which makes it even better.
November was another fun month. I turned 21 and my roommate and I went out together for the first time. I asked yet another guy to Delta Gamma's Hayride event. Thought that third time was going to be charm and it was...in a way. I had the best time I had ever had at an event but it came with me knowing that this guy was never going to be anything more than a good friend. I studied most of Thanksgiving break because it was getting down to the wire again. I had survived most of the semester in Tax Accounting but I can't say that it made my life fun.
I went back to school for two weeks in December. I participated in Shop with a Bulldawg which is an organization that my freshman year roommate started. I once again saw a truer side of Athens and wanted to continue to explore a career in education. I took my finals and waited anxiously for the results. I passed Tax Accounting with the lowest grade I have ever received in school but I didn't care because it meant that Tax Accounting would be left in 2011 and I could move on to bigger and better things in 2012. I volunteered one day for UGA Habitat for Humanity's Gift Wrap Across Georgia. That was significant to me because the past two years I have given my heart and soul the week before Christmas and I proved to myself that I can take a step back. My mom got sick on Christmas Eve and is still sick, so after Christmas was a lot of laziness. My grandfather visited, so it was fun to have him around.
 
So now I am sitting here thinking about 2011. I didn't even include that I was vice president: finance for Delta Gamma which taught me all sorts of lessons about dealing with people and planning a budget. It's one of the reasons I am still an accounting major because I enjoyed it so much. I also became a member of Order of Omega, a Greek Honor Society. I never realized how many experiences one person can have in the span of 365 days. All of these experiences are going to make me a better person and I truly believe that 2011 is a year that I will never forget.
 
I know this post is already way too long but I want to look ahead, so that a year from now I can look back and reflect on 2012. Hopefully it will be an even better year than 2011.

Here's what I am excited about:
  • Taking over the position of vp: programming for Delta Gamma
  • Summer Olympics in London
  • My Internship with Georgia Pacific
  • Delta Gamma Convention
  • Leonard Retreat (one week from today wooh) and continuing to work with CCHS
  • Continuing to push myself to step out of the box and live life to the fullest

"Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us. And wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, and a little bit more loving, have a little bit more empathy, and maybe - next year at this time - we'd like each other a little bit more." - Judy Garland