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.