Thursday, June 28, 2012

Factory Life

Ladies and gentlemen, I was not planning on working in a factory (Revere Copper) this summer. When it came down to it, my initial reaction was... "ugh". And when I tell people that I work in a factory, their reaction is, "ugh".

Pouring copper, taken from the company website.
I'm kind of exaggerating.

But in general, having a summer job in a factory is, as far as I know, a pretty unique experience for the average college student (especially considering the serious lack of domestic manufacturing in North America). So this, coupled with the fact that I have tons of friends struggling to find any work, leads me to feel pretty fortunate.

That being said, it has its ups and downs. To get them out of the way, let's start with...

The Downs.

The work day starts at 7.30. So, every day, I have to wake up at 6.30 to eat and get ready to go. Haha, totally kidding. I scramble out of bed in a big ball of stress, caffeine, and no food, at around five-of-seven; after which, I hop in the car and barely make it there at 7.25 with coffee all over my hand and a strong desire to take a standing nap. No me gusta.

It's an eight-hour shift. This isn't really a down, but it's the first time I've had a job like this so I'm putting it in this category because it's something to get used to.

I get dirty, have to wear heavy jeans, work boots and obnoxious chem-lab-esqe safety glasses that alter my vision. All day. It's hot in the summer.

All in all though, there aren't many negatives. And I try not to complain!

Now for...

The Ups.

I GET PAIIID. Which is nice, considering my large gap in work history due to studying and exchange-studenting.

I get done early. So once I'm out of work at 3.30 I have the rest of the evening to read, relax, and do other summer things.

I'll probably never work in this environment again. I don't mean this in a "once I'm done, I'm outta here" way; but because I'm privileged enough to pursue studies in Anthro and Bio, I probably won't find myself in a working environment like this. I'm learning humility and patience, which I'm finding are really useful / important qualities to have.

Good people. I really like my coworkers, we have a good time.

Just to reiterate, I now have income.

Because I'll be spending most of my time for the rest of the summer in the factory, look out for more updates on that front. Also, watch out for updates about my internship at the refugee center!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Turn To Get "LinkedIn" ;)

I'm a fan of corny word play, what can I say? :p

For those of you who don't know, LinkedIn is a social media platform used in the professional world. On it, you can list your employers, skills, education and accomplishments, kind of like a resume, as well as interact with "connections", which are other people on LinkedIn.

This past Monday at my internship, I caught wind of some social media outreach going on at the refugee center. Due to a combination of my experience as a blogger with SMC, as well as the fact that my supervisor and I had been struggling to find me a legitimate project due to my time constraints, this immediately caught my attention. In October, the center hosts a film festival and conference called Unspoken, and the woman at MVRCR in charge of that offered to let me help with the LinkedIn discussion page associated with the event.

I got right on it--my account was established within a half hour, and now I'm spending time learning more about the event and LinkedIn in order to be as effective as I can while working on this project. It's definitely been stressful in some ways being so limited at my internship, but now that I have this opportunity I'm really excited about what I could do this summer.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Update on the Intern Front: Learning to Plan.

It’s already been a month of summer, and I’m having a hard time believing this. It hit me the other day when I was attempting to make plans with a friend from Boston and I realized that I only have one more free weekend after next for the rest of the summer. Soon after, I realized that I actually have plans on that weekend.

One cool thing about this summer so far is that it’s already been a learning experience for me in many ways. At first, I was kind of worried about trying to pull an internship and a job, plus being a camp counselor for a week, and traveling, and still having time to stay healthy, happy and relatively sane. But I’m glad I took on what I did, because even if, at first, I bit off more than I could chew, I have two more months to chew on anyway and wash it down with lemonade.

Learning experience numero A has been my internship for sure. Since this was my first one, and I kinda just dove in head first, I’ve made a few mistakes, but the experience has proven to be forgiving and even rewarding. The most significant mistake I've made was having a complete disregard for the time amount of time I would have to split between my 32-hr per week job (formerly 40-hrs, as I had to cut back to make room for interning), and a volunteer-based internship 20 miles away (I live in a small town,  if I hadn’t mentioned that before ;p). When I received news that I got the internship, I was ready to commit 100%. I could find a job, I told myself, that could work around the time I wanted to put in at my internship. I didn’t have to worry.

But worry I should have.

Because I did not get any other job, besides the 40-hrs-a-week-with-the-same-hours-as-my-internship one.
But I have learned, my readership, oh how I’ve learned. If I have any a valuable lesson thus far, it is this: PLAN. No matter how much you think you wont have to, if it’s anything of relative importance, at least think about how you're gonna get there (and now I'm exaggerating). I’m not suggesting that the only way to accomplish things in life is with a to-the-minute schedule, planners, highlighters and the like. But one should at the very least consider the hours in the day and the days in the week, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll have to cut back and make some sacrifices, and the sooner you know what you’re actually going to be doing, the better.

All that being said, in spite of the lack of planning, my internship is beginning to take more shape than it was two weeks ago. I have the opportunity to work on a cultural competence project (exactly what that entails, I don't know yet), along with other basic volunteer duties at and around the center. It will continue to be a learning experience I'm sure, in more ways than one, and now I can look forward to it with at least some idea of what's going on.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cool Stuff on Campus: The Center for Women and Gender

There are certain places, like Alliot, the freshman quad, the library, and the academic buildings, that make up every student's experience at SMC in some capacity. Of course everyone has different experiences in college, which is why I'm psyched to share the awesomeness that is the Center for Women and Gender, which has been a huge part of my experience at SMC thus far.

First of all, the Director of CWG, Julia, is the coolest ever. She's nice, cares a lot about CWG, is easy to talk to and is overall an awesome representative of the SMC Faculty. And on top of that, she's behind all the awesome stuff that goes on with the CWG.

One such example is the Clothesline Project and Red Flag Display, which consists of a clothesline of t-shirts made by victims and others affected by sexual assault, as well as red flags which each represent someone who has been helped by HOPE Works this year in Chittenden County. CWG got the display from HOPE Works, which created it in collaboration with Women Helping Battered Women and RU12?. The display is intended to raise awareness of sexual violence, and also offers information about local resources related to the issue. I've personally found this and other events like Take Back the Night to be really important, because it's hard to realize the sheer diversity of people and situations that are affected by this issue; and because SMC is a campus that is so tuned into issues of social justice, having displays like this is very fitting. Other events that I've been able to participate in related to this issue (thanks to CWG) include the Take Back the Night rally in Burlington, as well as other various lectures.

Another reason the CWG has been a big part of my SMC experience is that I went there weekly for Common Ground meetings. Common Ground is a group on campus that focuses on issues of and related to the LGBT community, and it's a very active club! I did a post early in the spring semester about the It Gets Better video they made, and then in March we managed to bring LZ Granderson to speak on campus. If you're interested, it's a great group to be involved in, and I highly recommend it.

(Sorry for the plug ;p)

One more reason the CWG is awesome is because there are a kitchen and lounge there for student use. Some friends of mine had a "family breakfast" there last semester, and during finals there are a ton of emails advertising the space for studying. It is really cozy in there and makes for a chill environment (say, for club meetings? ;p).

The CWG has a lot to offer, and if you hear about something  going on there that interests you, definitely check it out! You won't regret it. :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Day at My Internship.

Yesterday I finally got to begin my internship at MVRCR; and I say finally because it took some time to schedule! With this internship I have the freedom to set up my own hours, so I initially tried to set up time in the afternoons after my all-day job at Revere Copper. This ended up not happening, and I had to play with my work schedule a little bit to fit it in, but I will now be able to intern Mondays, and then work the rest of the week. I have a pretty packed schedule by design, I keep myself busy outside of work and interning. That way, the weekends are just that much more enjoyable ;)

Anyway, for a first day it was low-stress and enjoyable; I did some learning and very basic tasks, and it felt good to finally get my foot in the door. I'm hoping I'll be able to make the best of the little time I have. I'm also lucky because the internship itself is of a volunteering and community-service nature (but it's more than that too), so that allows me some freedoms that I wouldn't have in a more structured internship (like Gabbi's... actually, her internships).

Like I said, I have some options as far as what I can pursue while I'm there. For example, I can teach driving on a computer simulator (which is challenging!), work on a cultural competence project (more on that later), teach ELL, as well as other various moving and helping volunteer-type activities. I'm someone who is typically less organized than I should be, so this is a good opportunity for me to prioritize and plan so that I can do and learn as much as possible with the time I have there.

I'm off to work soon (it's 6.30 here, ugh), but I'll be sure to update regularly now that my summer is taking some shape.

Thanks for reading!