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!
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!