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!
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