Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dangling through a Whirlwind of a Summer

It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting on a plane on my way to Austria and now I am less than a week away from moving back to Athens. The past ten weeks have flown by but it has given me a great perspective and I would not dream of doing anything else with my time. 

Austria and Germany taught me that it was a sin for me to believe that I could go through life without seeing the rest of the world. There are so many interesting places that deserve my attention and I don't want to regret going through life and not taking the opportunity to let the world have its own affect on me. 

My first client of my internship taught me that it is necessary to step out of your comfort zone and there are going to be times when pushing myself is going to be the only path to success. It also gave me one distinct perspective of the advisory profession and helped me get closer to finding out exactly what I want to do. 

My second client taught me that productive teams can do great work and some of the best ideas come from spending an hour in a conference room digesting information and coming to conclusions as a group. This client was much more what I was expecting as an advisory professional and it solidified my decision to switch service lines last fall.

I have gotten to know so many of the interns especially the other UGA interns who I will be in graduate classes with in just a few weeks. It is a great feeling when you look around and feel like most of the people around you hold the same values as you. It expedites the process of making connections and makes me really excited to hopefully start full time with all of them next summer. 

I have learned the art of packing lightly and packing at the last minute. There was a span of two weeks where I was constantly packing and unpacking. I can see how business travel gets exhausting but I wouldn't trade the experience of being able to travel as an intern. I want to continue this streak of travel into the fall and I have a few trips in mind, but I understand now why so many people just take the first few years out of college to enjoy the world. 

Overall this summer has been so packed that I do not think I have digested it all yet. I am on my way to my last engagement as an intern in which I get to spend 4 days with 2000+ other interns, celebrating our success from the summer and kickstarting our careers. I know the next four days are going to be jam packed but I can't wait to soak in as much as I can about this firm and all of the opportunities that I might have the chance to participate in. 

It was a full circle when my flight this morning took off from the same gate as my flight to Austria in May. This summer has proved to me that all of my decisions over the past 12 months have been for the best and exactly what I was suppose to be doing. I can't wait to see how my life progresses over the next 12 months because I know right here, right now is exactly where I am suppose to be in this whirlwind of a life. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dangling through Another Beginning

The great thing about college is that you have four summers to prove yourself in a variety of internships which also help you figure out what you might want to do once you get that diploma. The not so great thing about internships is that if you want a variety of experience, it means you are starting over every May. For the introvert like me, it can be a difficult transition to make sure that you are always on your "A" game and meeting as many new people as possible. 

Due to planning, I flew into Atlanta from Berlin at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening and I started training for this summer's internship on Monday morning. It was exciting: getting up, driving to the city, slightly worrying about the traffic and finding a place to park in the office parking deck. Then I entered into the sea of interns, hoping to find a familiar face from UGA. The rest of the week is a blur of new people, new information, and new experiences like riding Marta for the first time. I realized that my "social interaction tank" had been exhausted by being with 19 other people on my study abroad and then all the Southeast interns. It was the first time in my life that I could actually tell I hadn't had enough "me" time. 

I got to recharge over the weekend which I am sensing is going to become a norm with this working girl lifestyle. There isn't enough downtime during the week to worry about anything besides getting through the daily routine. One of the things I have missed the most over the past month has been running on a regular basis and now that I am out of the routine it's so hard to get back into it. I am waiting for the day when my body forces me to go do it which I am sensing is going to be pretty soon. 

Another part of this internship experience is travel, so come Monday morning I was back on a plane heading to my first client engagement. It was definitely interesting getting up super early to catch a flight and then working a full day at the client. It was a day full of newness including the city, the rental car, and the hotel room. It was also another day of meeting new people and putting on my "A" game at all times. I am fortunate that by the end of this internship I will be more comfortable walking into a new situation and immediately feeling comfortable enough to break out of my shell. Last summer, it took me about two weeks to feel comfortable in the office. This summer I might only be on a client for two weeks, so I have to show the team how I operate in a shorter amount of time.

The client work is great. It definitely challenges me to expand my knowledge and it is aligned with the the classes that I enjoyed in college. I need to ask more questions but I am sure that will come as I am given harder controls to test. Also there is a lot of flexibility combined with managing your own schedule. The way we were working this week makes me feel like I have more hours in my day but I just have to get the motivation to use them wisely. Also I get to work from Atlanta on Friday which means understanding what the team expects from me before leaving the office on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how my other client operates in three weeks but so far I am satisfied.

I can definitely tell a difference between this summer and last summer. I have found work that challenges me to learn and aligns with why I thought I was getting an accounting degree. It can be lonely at times traveling by myself and the team is not as chatty during the day. But I can see progress on the controls testing and every day is different. So yes, this internship is another new beginning that will provide me with its share of ups and downs, but I am more ready then ever to take on the challenge and become the best version of me! 

Dangling in Austria and Germany

I meant to write this post as I was traveling around Austria and Germany but to be honest I was so busy taking everything in that I didn't want to spend an afternoon compiling all of my thoughts. I made sure to write in my journal every day so that I can look back on it for specific details about this trip. 

The first word that comes to mind when I think about this experience is "Wow". Last summer, I realized that I was going to be disappointed if I did not take the opportunity to study abroad while in college. The whole school year was focused on me getting to Europe whether or not I got any credit for the classes. Fortunately, the price was completely worth the experience and one of my classes is going to count for my graduate degree. 

I don't even know where to begin to describe everything that I learned, so I guess I will try to highlight some of the key points. 

When I fly overseas again, I will definitely fly during the day. We experienced both an overnight flight as well as a daytime flight and it is so much more enjoyable during the day. It is miserable to be on an overnight flight, wanting to sleep and not being able to. On the flight home, I was able to work on my journal and there wasn't the pressure to sleep because I knew I would be hitting the bed as soon as we landed. 

One of our classes consisted of us attending school with 12 Viennese students at WU. It was interesting to see how their school was set up and to hear their opinions about both our education systems. I am grateful to be attending a university in the US and wish that I had taken advantage of the classes that were offered as electives. Our professor, Mark Laplante, emphasized how our education should be used to build a tool kit for our working lives and I understand now how that point of view would have been an advantage during my undergrad years. The class we were taking was focused on international finance, so our education was enhanced by the fact that we were sitting in the Eurozone during the financial crisis. I know that my knowledge is lacking on current business trends and being in Europe made me realize that I need to be reading as much as I can. Fortunately, getting out of school comes with a variety of half price magazine subscriptions, so I have already started to stay more informed. 

The other component of our class was making 10 business visits to a variety of firms in both of these countries. We got to visit subsidiaries of American firms, family owned companies, and companies that specialize in products for the European market. As a class, we focused on how their business was affected by the European financial crisis and how their business focus is manufacturing. My favorite visit was to the BMW Motorcycle facility because I had the opportunity to compare manufacturing processes. Also, I have decided that BMW is my dream car when the time comes to buy something new. 

Class and business visits are all great but the best part about this trip was being in two European countries with so much history. I enjoyed Vienna more than Berlin because we got to live across the street from WU for 2.5 weeks. By the time we transferred to Berlin, we knew our way around Vienna and everyone had a routine. I learned that I absolutely love the art museums and those will be the fist places I visit on the rest of my trips. I also realized that I cannot let one moment pass me by when I am in a new place. No matter what we did the previous night, I always tried to be up around 9:00 and making plans for the day. I was probably a little bit more exhausted at the end of the trip but I saw as much of the city as I could. Two of my favorite sites on the trip were Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and Sachenhousen Concentration Camp outside of Berlin. The palace was absolutely beautiful and had a huge gallery overlooking the city of Vienna. It was a testament to the monarchies who previously ruled. The concentration camp was sad but it helped me to remember the horrible actions that have shaped Berlin's history. I cannot fathom how so many people believed that their actions were justified and it again makes me grateful for my own country's history. 

This trip would not have been worthwhile if it weren't for the people that surrounded me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was one of three girls on the trip and we were accompanied by 17 guys. I have never spent so much time with guys and it definitely gave me a crash course in their behavior. I was the second oldest student and of course my nature is to be the "mother". By the third night, everyone was counting on me to know where we were going and get us home in a reasonable manner. I tried to shed  the "motherly" instincts and it was definitely to my benefit because with that many guys around all the time, there is no doubt that we had a good time. The guys on this trip were some of the best guys that I have met at UGA and I am so glad that I got the opportunity to get to know them on this trip. I can't wait to see where their paths lead at the end of this coming year and I know that I have made some lasting connections. Audrey and Lindsay were the two other girls and I think it is really lucky that we all managed to get along for the whole trip. We balanced each others personalities well and I know we will reminisce about our shared experience with the boys. Mark Laplante was our professor and he brought his family on the trip as well. I signed up for this study abroad because I knew he was a great professor and that he was going to challenge me. His advice was invaluable and I will always take away little nuggets of knowledge. 

In conclusion, this trip exceeded my expectations. Of course there were some ups and downs but I got to know so many great people and my eyes have been open to so many different aspects of life. I learned how to have fun with a group of people that you have to trust because they are the only people you have around. I learned how important it is to explore the world and take note of all the differences. I learned you should never stop absorbing information and expand your horizons because you never know the opportunities that might arise. I tried to go into this experience with a positive attitude and I think I realized that it can make all of the difference in the world. Yes, there are times when you have to get something off your chest but overall everything you do has a purpose and can add to your experience in some way. I think the most significant part of the trip is the fact that I am making this huge transition. I am leaving another country and stepping into an internship that is the start of another adventure. Opportunity at its finest! 

So even though this post doesn't have all the details of my trip, it highlights some of the best moments and most of the lessons learned. I think I have fulfilled the last of my college wish list and I really will be able to walk away with no regrets. This trip exceeded my expectations and there is no way to completely convey all of the "dangling" moments. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dangling through Graduation

So this semester has been pretty lazy with the blog but my excuse is that I have been living out my final undergraduate moments in Athens! It is so hard to believe that four years have already passed but I have so many memories to look back on and I know that I will have very few, if any, regrets. 

Graduation was a whirlwind of activities! I was fortunate to be done with my harder exams on the first two days of finals, so I had a full week to enjoy Athens! I got to have dinner with one of my littles, yogurt with one of my grand littles and breakfast with an old friend. Delta Gamma had a morning full of taking seniors pictures and then a lunch with a bunch of us just catching up. To round out the week of activities, I went on a food tour on Prince Avenue. This week of activities helped me to remember how important it is to just take in each moment. There was so much time this week to just sit back and relax and really cherish the time with some of my great friends.

The day of graduation was awesome and full of everything that I have enjoyed so much in Athens! It started with a roommate breakfast that we dubbed "Happy Graduation Morning"! We opened presents and had donuts, all in the style of a Christmas morning surprise. I will always cherish that time with Allie and Katie because it is the pinnacle of all our memories in the 306. 

Then we headed to the Graduation Brunch for the Leonard Class of 2013. It was a time for my family to sit and chat as well as see all the Leonard's before the rest of the day swept us off our feet. I was honored to receive not only my Certificate in Leadership but also the Journery Award voted on by my peers. This award is given to the person who the class believes has improved the most in leadership development. My receiving of this award just continues to prove to me that Leonard was the best decision that I made in college and its experiences and connections will continue to make an impact on my life for years to come. 

Terry Graduation was a moment for me to reflect on my accounting career and walk across the stage in recognition of completing my BBA degree. Although it was a long ceremony, it was more intimate and I got to see so many people accomplish their own goals.

The pinnacle of the day was UGA Graduation in Sanford Stadium. It is why I walked in spring graduation with my class instead of waiting until next year when I finish my masters. It definitely lived up to my expectation and I got to spend the evening with all of the DGs. Our graduation speaker gave this great metaphor about how "a ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for." All of the words were inspiring and just reminded me that I have so much to look forward to in life. 

These last four years have been everything that I have hoped for in college. I will look back on these years fondly and I am so glad that I got to celebrate with these ceremonies. I will never be able to put into words everything I have been feeling the last few weeks but I know that it's special and I will cherish it. Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this journey! 

Stay tuned: on to the next adventure in Austria and Germany! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dangling with Questions

There are so many questions that you can ask the world or yourself. You can be inquistive or thoughtful, funny or serious, and a whole host of other adjectives. Questions are what lead us to some of the best conversations with others as well as to the best reflections of ourselves. If you follow the blog regularly then you know that I reflect on my own actions with tremendous detail and sometimes to the extent that I just want to turn my brain off.

It's funny how my brain works because it goes through stages of thinking about different situations. I will consider how I feel about the situation for a few days and then move on to trying to understand the situation. I probably should just let everything slide off my back but I realize that I learn the most life lessons by digging deeper into certain situations.

So as the cycle would predict, I am currently dissecting January. I have thought that maybe January just needs to be a black hole on the calendar of this year, maybe January was a huge mistake. But I also realize that I have changed over the past 30 days and I would not have made that progress without the events of January.

Over the past year I have tried to take notice when I feel like I am going to regret something. I know we don't have time for everything in our lives but if we realize when we are giving something up, maybe we can turn it around and make a difference, lessening our regret about past situations.

Regret is the major question of January- how will this month effect me going forward? Did I really give up on something that could of been awesome, for something that will probably only be a bullet point on my list of college memories? Am I the only one that feels this way or are their two sides to every story? These questions can really only be answered by me and it kills me that the questions I keep asking myself all lead me to believe that January was a mistake.

All I can focus on now is that every situation in life leads to a lesson and I have definitely learned from January. For the first time in my life, I realize that the grass is definitely not greener on the other side of the pasture. Like my roommate said last night, you had to go over there to see but from this point forward I will choose to stick with what I have instead of putting myself in a position of uncertainty. It taught me to have more faith in people and that relationships are based on trust and honesty, so if you are not willing to give them then don't expect for the relationship to move forward. January definitely helped my trust in God and my patience for his plan, but I still have to work on the questioning of my actions that will lead me to his plan.

I am glad that I can apply this year's mottos to the situation and learn from my actions. As of right now, January is over but it is still in the works of being resolved in my head. It will effect me in the coming months but I can't begin to predict how it will manifest itself. All I can do is live in the moment and live for my own happiness because my life is headed in a great direction right now, so I don't have anything to worry about except maybe the questions. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dangling with the Start of Another Year

Well, the goal was to have both my 2012 reflection post and my 2013 ambition post before the New Year but seeing as how that didn't happen, all I can say is better late than never!

If you haven't noticed, the blog got a little bit of an update for 2013. I have changed up the design a bit as well as added some pages of things that I want to accomplish. I am hoping this change will reignite my love of the blogging world as well as encourage me to knock stuff off my multiple list.

This year, I saw that one of my DG sisters had decided to pick watchwords to define her year. I thought that was a great idea because it is something simple that can remind me of what I want to focus on.

So this year my words are:
  • Patience: I can be stuborrn at times and expect things to happen sooner then they are suppose to. I want to take this year to focus on the fact that life works out how it is suppose to in the end and if I practice a little bit of patience I will probably be happier with the results.
  • Spiritual: This idea has been part of my life since my sophomore year of college but I have come to the realization that it is definitely something I need to keep in the forefront of my mind this year. I know that God is watching out for me at all times but I need to figure out how I want to best acknowledge his presence in my life. By the end of 2013, I want to be more secure in my faith and understand my own spirituality better.
  • Trust: This word was not my initial reaction when thinking about 2013 but I think it ties in nicely with both of my other watchwords and it is also one of my core values, so I think it could use some attention. I want to increase my ability to trust this year. I don't want to worry about every detail of my life. I want to trust myself, others and God that as long as I practice patience and stay true to myself, my life is going to be amazing!
I am sure these words will take on more meaning as I continue to think about them throughout the year but I know these short descriptions have already started to make an impact on my year.

Some great things that have already happened this year:
  • Spent New Year's in Orlando and got to see the Dawgs play in the Capital One Bowl.
  • Spent a weekend in Savannah participating in service with the Leonards as well as having our last weekend of good, ole fashioned fun
  • Started my last semester as an undergrad and really looking forward to my classes
  • Worked out 6/6 days the first week of class and feel great about continuing to get stronger to run in another 5K in a few weeks
  • Continue to realize the importance of relationships in helping me grow as a person
If this week is an indication of my year then I can't wait to write my reflection blog at the end of the year because I know I am going to have so many new and challenging experiences. Here's to the followers who are going to join me on this journey!!

Dangling through 2012

Better late than never, I guess I have to say since we are now 11 days into 2013! Once again it's the end of the year and I am reflecting on everything that went on the past 12 months! My goals for this year was to take life one day at a time and live each day to the fullest! I feel like I have kept this mantra for the year but there are definitely times when I could have pushed myself harder. So, here is the recap of the year and how I want to improve in 2013!

January started off my sixth semester in college! And I went in with my new attitude about living life to the fullest. The major event of the month was the Leonard Retreat! It was probably the most rewarding weekend of my life. I forced myself to be honest with this group of 29 people who have become some of the most important people in my life. I also challenged myself to the high ropes course which was a new and sometimes terrifying experience for me! This weekend made me realize that life is full of rewarding experiences and I just need to make sure that I take full advantage of them.

In February, I planned the annual Sisterhood Retreat for our chapter! It was filled with goal setting and defining ourselves as well as a ton of bonding activities. I realized that planning events is a lot harder than it seems and even after a full year of it as vp: programming, I probably still need to work on it as a skill when I get into a real job. Even though there were some struggles, this event was meaningful for our chapter and I always look forward to it. We also got an extra day in February which just reinforced the idea that I need to live each day to the fullest.

In March, I spent spring break at home just focusing on rejuvenating. I got to spend a few days with my best friend in Savannah and it made me realize that I need to start focusing on me. I have heard that advice for the past few years but I never processed it until now. I also went to my first Delta Gamma Formal and had a great night with my sisters and all of our dates. It made me realize the importance to getting to know people while in college and taking advantage of these opportunities to have a good time.

In April, I found out that I was going to be spending my summer in a little place called Port Hudson, Louisiana. It is the location of a consumer products plant for Georgia Pacific and it was my assignment for my summer internship. I was so excited about this opportunity and it really helped to push me through the end of the semester. We also had Josh Gracin come play for us as our Spring Philanthropy event. It was cool getting to meet a former American Idol contestant and pretty popular country singer these days.

In May, I finished my finals and headed to the beach with one of my Leonard friends. We had a blast catching up on some much needed relaxation and getting burned to a crisp. I spent about a week at home attending some accounting recruiting events and trying to decide how I was going to move myself to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I decided to make the drive all by myself which was not as bad as I was expecting.

The whole summer was definitely a crash course in adult life. I lived in a one bedroom apartment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was responsible for getting myself to work each day and making friends since I didn't know anyone when I moved down there. I loved being able to immerse myself in the culture of Baton Rouge and visit all of the historical plantations. I also got to spend two weekends in New Orleans and really see what it's like to live in a port city. The whole summer was about growth and I spent a lot of time by myself so I had an opportunity to think about me, my life and my surroundings. I learned that I would not be opposed to going other places to work and that being challenged in my job is probably one of my top priorities.

We had our final presentations in Atlanta the last week of July and it was great getting to hang out with all of the interns who I hadn't seen all summer. I started to understand what a work environment is going to be like and how your co-workers will become your good friends. It was a great way to end the summer but it was also a busy time getting ready to come back to Athens for recruitment.

The first two weeks of August were filled with recruitment and it felt completely different being a senior this year. I know what I love about Delta Gamma and I am much better equipped to sell my experience to new girls walking through our doors. It was a great time to bond with my sisters and it will probably be one of the experiences that I miss when I leave. I started my last fall semester as an undergrad and it still feels weird to think that my college experience is coming to an end.

In September, it was back to the routine of going to class, studying, keeping up with commitments and trying to remember that there are still a lot of things that I want to do with my time in Athens. I met a group of guys who would come to define my semester as I spent most of DG's date nights with them and almost every home game. Once again, I added a new member to my DG family with a shared little. This month was truly about relationships and getting to know people.

October is always a sprint. I went to my last Greek Grind as an undergrad. I had numerous accounting recruiting events and office visits as it came down to the wire to decide where I wanted to spend my summer. I went on DG's Hayride as well as run my first 5K for Habitat for Humanity. It was my last Low Country Boil as an undergrad and the whole family came to visit as well as help cook! And to end the month, we went to Jacksonville and kicked some Gator butt in a weekend to remember!

November started with DG's Semiformal which ended up probably being my favorite date night of the semester. My birthday was the next week and my family surprised me with a party in Athens. I was sick the whole week of my birthday but grateful that I have wonderful parents. My best friend from high school came to town for the Georgia Southern game and we had a great time partying in Athens! My little sister also found out that she will be spending the next four years of her life in Athens as a Bulldawg and I couldn't be prouder of her. I went to my first Georgia Tech game of my collegiate career and ended my two year run as an officer in Delta Gamma. November was definitely one of those months that pushed me to get everything done but I enjoyed it because I always felt like I had something going on.

December was filled with lots of relaxing. I made it through all of the holiday parties and finals! I was really excited to see my grades at the end of the semester as well. I was happy to be home and spend the holidays with my family. I got caught up on lots of new movies and just took some time to think about me and the year that I had.

I realize reflecting on this year that I am so glad I made such an effort to remember everything that happened. Yes, some of this stuff is probably just everyday things but I think it's so important to focus on all of the wonderful memories I have been making. Yeah, I probably could of learned a little bit more in school or my position in DG but in the end I am going to remember all of the stuff that is in this post and reflect on it in the future. I can't wait to continue this trend in 2013 because I know this year is going to be even more hectic and fun filled than 2012.

I achieved my goal! I lived life to the fullest and took way less days for granted! And I am so thankful that I have opened my eyes to all of the opportunities that 24 hours has to offer.