Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer? Don't go!

People ask how my summer is going.

My initial thought (because I am a literalist) is that it's going much too quickly.

Already it's halfway through July, and I have a little over one month until school starts back.

One. Month.

At the end of the spring semester, I had a great many things I wanted to accomplish over the summer. And as I look at my checklist, I'm disappointed by the myriad of things I haven't done. 

But let's focus on the positives. Things I have done. 

At the end of the semester, I went on a little job hunt.

I was concerned about finding someplace to work.
I felt the definition of daunted.

When starting a job hunt, it seems like there are endless closed doors and yet at the same time, endless options.

Financial needs were starting to press in.  Then I had two car accidents. TWO within a few weeks of each other.

(I'm fine and the other drivers are fine, thank God! They were just annoying fender benders)'s a long story.  Let's just say that sometimes drivers don't know what a stop sign is, and they end up running it.

Running it straight into your front bumper. Oh yeah.

I was overwhelmed, but I felt very much that I needed to get a job.

Let me just plug in here that God is so good. Not to sound like a Holy Roller or anything, but there is such peace in knowing that I can just trust and not rely on my own strength.
I trust that He's going to open the doors and always make the right things work out. So I brought the request to Him. I prayed about applying to the right places. There were endless options, but soon it narrowed down to just two places.

One was a locally owned business, the other a corporate chain.
Both were restaurants. I figured I should try out the waitressing gig to see how I'd do. I've also heard that through such a job, one learns important life skills.
I worked in fast food in high school (excuse me, "quick service restaurant") and retail (yes, through Christmas. I have seen the horror that is Black Friday). Both jobs imparted some important life lessons.

Once I felt sure that these two options were to be pursued, I initiated the application process.

The corporate chain had me fill out hours worth of online personality surveys and paperwork -- just to see if I could get an interview. I did my duty, and a few days later got a generated email (you know, the kind with, "[insert name here], congratulations!") telling me I could proceed to the next step. ...step 2 of 40, or so it felt. By the time the email came, I already had a job.

After doing the surveys, I called the local place. They had me come in to interview that day. After talking to the owner for a few minutes, I was offered a job.

The decision seemed pretty cut and dry to me.

I understand that corporate chains are huge and that they have to have consistency in the hiring process. They can't just say, "you seem like a good person for the job, I trust your character, how about you come in to train and we'll see how it goes?"

I get that.
But I prefer the sort of work environment that's a bit more relaxed and trusting of human integrity. Also, my boss told me straight off, "I know you're a college student, so just let me know whenever you need off. Exams, homework, whatever it is school-related. I'm very understanding of that." 
How fantastic is that?

I feel it makes for less stress and there's also the bonus of knowing that I'm working for a local business and not a huge chain with headquarters in some distant city. 

Waiting tables did have a learning curve.
From an outsider perspective, it doesn't seem like a terribly difficult task. Okay, it does.  I've had enough bad waitresses to know that there is some skill set required.

As I've worked, I am realizing all of the little details and thoughts that go into serving each table and creating a pleasant environment and experience for customers. My multitasking and hospitality skills are increasing, which is definitely good.

I find that while I usually come home drained, I love this sort of work. I doubt that I would make it my career, but it's a really great college job.

I'm very thankful.

Also this summer, since I would list off what I have done as opposed to beating myself up about not doing things, I've been assisting some great grad students in the Food Science Department. It's a wonderful opportunity to have some hands-on experience as well as see what it would be like to be a grad student. The two I'm working with are fantastic mentors.

Besides those two main things, I fill up the rest of my time with little hobbies. Running is something I've posted about often, but I've hit a sort of wall with it. I'm not sure why. I'm starting a new training regimen, and hopefully it pays off with increased stamina and improved form.

I'd go on typing, but the sun is out.
It has been raining and storming for the past few weeks almost every day.
I'd better take advantage of this sun. soon as my headache leaves. It's a bit brutal; it feels like my brain wants to push out of my skull. Maybe my ego needs deflating. I don't know.

If you've read this far, you're most likely a wonderful person, or you're very bored.

Either way, I commend you.

If you're bored and don't want to move, watch Raising Hope, Pushing Daisies, Psych, Monk, Doctor Who, or Sherlock. Any of those are fantastic TV shows.

If you're bored but want to move around, go rock climbing. How I miss that sport.
Or go for a nature walk and bring a camera. You never know what small beauties you'll see. Cameras encourage you to notice small details.
And to reward you for reading SO far, here are some pictures I got with my phone camera while out for such walks.

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