Well, the first half of my summer has been a bit of a whirlwind to say the least. It’s been nonstop since the day I got home from school. Not that I’m complaining, it’s been an amazing ride, but I’m only now getting to a point where I can sit back and take a bit of a breather; as much of a breather as I can hope for at least. This summer has been so jam-packed so far I don’t even know where to begin in explaining it. Let’s see if I can get this all out without being too long but without missing anything…

The Internship: So I think I mentioned in my last blog that I’m interning at Viewpoint in their KeySearch department doing Search Engine Marketing. It’s pretty cool, basically right up my alley. I was really into it the first few days/weeks, but now as I’m spending more time with it, as with everything else in life that you spend a decent amount of time with, its flaws are beginning to show. The biggest flaw, and this isn’t even based on the internship itself, is the commute. I spend 4 hours/day on a train commuting back and forth to NYC. It’s not TOTALLY unbearable, I do catch up on some much needed sleep, but at the same time, I’d much rather be in my bed. I have to leave @ 6:45 in the morning and I don’t get home until 7:30 at night. Now if you consider the span of time between 7:30 and 6:45 that means I don’t even spend 12 hours/day at home! That doesn’t even take into consideration the days that the trains are delayed, or hell, even stop running at all! (Which happened 1 and 1/2 times!) But like I said, it’s not totally unbearable. On the days that I can stay awake on the train, I do get a lot of work done, so I guess it balances out in some odd way.

The other flaw of the internship is monotony. I’m definitely not a fan of monotony. It’s definitely an internship designed for someone with less of a need to interact with people. I do interact with people, my boss and the other intern, but it’s definitely not enough for me. It’s also a little too numbers-based and less creative-based than I would prefer in a job. But, being the optimistic person that I try to be, I get that it’s a great opportunity and will really benefit me in the long-run, so I stick with it and I try to do my best to get everything I can out of it.

RYLA:

So about a week or two into my internship it was time for RYLA. I have to admit, I was in a pretty bummy mood before RYLA and wondered if it would even be a good idea for me to go in such a bad mood, but I made the commitment and deep down I was really excited for it, so I went. I couldn’t be more thankful that I made myself go. RYLA, as it was the first time around, the most amazing experience of my life. I didn’t think it could get any better, considering the life-changing effects it had on me the first time around, but God was I wrong. This time, however, it had a totally different effect on me. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s all very internal, but I know it’s there. It was so great to see RYLA from the counselor side, to see “behind the curtain” and to be able to give the kids the same experience (and more) that I had the privilege of partaking in when I was their age.

In addition to the great experience, I met some of the most amazing people in the world. They’ve truly become my family over these last few weeks. I would honestly do ANYTHING for these people. They’re such wonderful people in every respect. Not only have I gained 22 friends/family members, but I’ve also gained 22+ new role models. Each one of them has so much to offer this world and they’re all taking steps toward achieving that. It’s an indescribable experience to be in a room with them and to share such an intense week with them. There’s so much I could say about these guys and about RYLA in general, but I’ll save that for another day and another blog.

NYC from another perspective: The eRotaract Club sponsored 2 kids to come to RYLA from the Gulf Coast, specifically Grand Isle, LA. One of them was in my action group at RYLA and had really come out of her shell over the course of the week. Because they were here all the way from Louisiana, and one of them had never been on a plane before, of course it was arranged so that they had a few extra days to spend in the NYC area post-RYLA. They stayed at one of the counselor’s apartments in Hoboken. The day after RYLA the counselor and Mama (the Rotarian who goes to RYLA every year) went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I was way too exhausted to drive up north that day, so I slept in and made my way to Hoboken that night. I stayed at the counselor’s house because she had a lot of HW to catch up on and wouldn’t be going into the City the next day. So the next day, woke up, got the kids ready, and headed to the Path station to go to NYC. Personally, I was SO excited. I love showing people around NYC and just the excitement in these kids? eyes was making me even more thrilled to be sharing the experience with them. We met up with Mama and her baby granddaughter as well as 5 (I think?) other counselors and toured New York from one end to the other. It was exhausting but SO worth it. Everyone had a great time and even the counselors who all grew up around NYC learned something new about different landmarks or locations. It was so much fun.

The Other Internship: So just before I left I got set up with my 2nd internship, which I began a few days after I got back from RYLA. Now you may think I’m insane based on the lovely description I gave of my first internship, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Since I only have the first internship 3 days/week, I have plenty of time for another. This 2nd internship is the one I enjoy more, even though it’s definitely not as prestigious as the first. The other 2 days out of the week I intern at one of the old RYLA facilitator’s web development company. The best part about this job is that it’s remote. Yep, I do it from my desk at home; a nice respite from the crazy commute the other 3 days. I haven’t really gotten into the development aspects of the internship yet, they’re still putting me through the “ability inventory” where they’re checking to see what I can really do and where I would be the most useful, but it’s fun. It’s also great to see how a real, moderately successful web development company is operated. I’ve already learned a ton of things that I’m missing for my own company. I expect to learn a lot from this internship especially since it’s something I truly enjoy and intend to continue incorporate into my life as I enter the workforce.

eRC: Stemming from my involvement in RYLA and my web design skills/internship with the former RYLA facilitator, I got involved in eRotaract. Check out the site for info on what the club is really about, but basically, I went to the meeting on Tuesday, not knowing there were elections or anything, just knowing that I wanted to get involved in the club, and I went home as the Web Chairperson. It’s perfect, really, because little by little the facilitator I’m working with has been granting me access to different backend pages and stuff so that I could possibly help him out with them. Now that I’m the Web Chair, I’m responsible for the website and other web-related things such as moderating all of the e-groups, etc. This was kind of a long time coming, in less formal words, because a few months after my RYLA in 04 the facilitator and I discussed me working on the various websites, etc. So, now that I’m a counselor it’s all the more convenient and fitting for me to start to slowly transition into taking over the web-based aspects of RYLA and eRC. After all, he’s already transitioned out of being facilitator, I’m sure he’s trying to “pass the pulse” in RY-speak to someone new and younger who can carry it on for the next few years as the program grows. I’m really excited about this position and to be more involved in RYLA. It’s such a great program and I enjoy having a part in helping it grow.

So basically, those are the things that have sucked up my time since May 19th. I don’t mind though. I’ve enjoyed nearly every minute of it. I’ve loved the 2 hour drives to somewhere in Northern Jersey just because I knew at the end of those 2 hours I’d have the chance to hang out with some of my favorite people. I’ve loved not getting home until 1AM because I was debriefing the week at one of the counselor’s houses. I’ve loved just randomly saying “I’m going to ____, I’ll be back later tonight”, just to help out a counselor who was having computer problems or needed a ride. I’ve loved every minute of it.

Other than all of that, my digital camera died, so now I’m forced to use my digital SLR as my primary camera. I’ve actually grown to like it though and it’s re-sparked my interest in photography. I have some great shots from the beach and I can’t wait to get some great shots of the foliage when I get back to Cornell.

So did I get everything? I think so? That’s basically a rundown of what’s happened. What’s to come is still up in the air for the most part. There’s still my internships and eRC, but I hope the 2nd half of my summer will contain some equally exciting adventures. I have a few things I’d like to do before I get back to school, but we’ll see what I have time for what other opportunities decide to present themselves between now and August.

Until next time…