Saturday, May 4, 2013

First summer on-campus (Part 1: Work & School)

I had been writing about the journey that got me here.  Last time I wrote, I was up to my first internship.  While I had worked temporary positions since high school, this was my first "real job" out in the corporate world.  As I wrote, it wasn't the easiest of journeys.

There are a lot of movies and tv shows out there about U.S. culture, that promote one's Sweet 16th birthday as a time for a big celebration, lots of presents, possibly even a car.  My Sweet 16 was nothing like that.  I was allowed to invite a handful of friends over for the night, and I asked for no presents, and I certainly didn't get a car of any age.

During the internship, I was able to get a ride to work with another intern.  My roommate and I, both car-less, could also get rides to the grocery store, the bank, or the post office, when we needed to, but the apartments were not in walking distance of most of those needs.  I walked to the library, I walked to church, and mostly stayed in the apartment and read when I wasn't at work.

But as the semester wound down and I prepared to move back to campus, I needed my own ride.  It took a lot of looking, a lot of evaluating what I could afford, where I might get a loan.  I had tried saving up during the semester, but did not have enough.  In the end, an uncle lent me the money, and I paid him back over the next year.

My now-husband worked out the details for how we would make it through the summer.  Since he was in school the usual spring-fall terms, he usually went back to live with his parents over the summer.  When I first got the job, I had feared that we would be living in different cities the entire year.

He talked with a mutual friend, and found another solution.  He got us both jobs with one of the residence halls over the summer, which allowed us to stay in the Hilltop Apartments for a low rate.  The University liked to keep the apartments full, and the summer was usually light.  Light enough that in a one-bedroom, three-person apartment, young men could get an apartment to themselves, and young women had just one roommate.

Word to the wise, if you're ever packing up to move?  Do NOT load a heavy trunk full of dishes first.    Now-husband and our friend helped me unload and move in to my fourth-floor, outside-stairs, no-elevators apartment.  But by the time we got to that trunk, they were exhausted.  Fortunately for us, my then-fiance (now-husband)'s apartment was two floors down from mine.  So he got the dishes, and we cooked & ate there.

I finished work on Friday, moved over the weekend, started the other job on Monday morning, and my Maymester class Monday afternoon.

I wrote previously about my experience helping two families after their houses had burned down.  Each family had been connected through small group ministry.

Well, the summer we worked on campus was about 8 months after there had been a fire in this dorm.  Halogen lights had been in style for a while, but they had this unfortunate tendency to catch fabric on fire when it fell on the bulb.  A student had tossed a blanket on a halogen lamp, and that was that.

~8 months later, the dorm still smelled of ozone.  That was my second experience with disaster recovery.

Our job varied over the summer.  Sometimes we painted rooms, sometimes we washed screens.  Sometimes we were split up for the day, and I helped the other women make up beds for campers, while he went off and did maintenance on things.  (Highly gendered assumptions, considering that I'm Ms. Fix-It at our house.)

When Maymester ended, I switched to ECE 201, and was able to work more hours.