June is over. I am sad that the first of my precious summer months slipped away so quickly, but I think I put in a solid effort to make each and every day count. The weekends were busy with trips to place likes Palm Springs and Julian, but the weekdays were even busier as I packed in a combination of work, friends, studying, and activities. I’ve also been meeting my health and fitness goals for the summer thus far. To do all of this, I’ve had to optimize my time very carefully. How do I keep track of all this? Spreadsheets and very careful planning.
First on the agenda every day, and the only thing that doesn’t go on the spreadsheet: work. Work is going well, and has taught me a lot about myself and my interests. After last summer’s internship I thought I learned a lot, and I certainly did, but now I look back on what I did and see how much more I could have done with my current knowledge. I can’t help but compare it, which is definitely frustrating for me. I have to keep reminding myself that I did the best I could at the time, and it was that particular stepping stone that allows me to look back on it with this frustration now (how ironically maddening). Another aspect of this internship that has taught me a lot is being in a team. I realized just how much happier I am being able to talk most of the day (not a surprise to anyone who knows me, surely) and that I don’t like being silent for more than…probably fifteen minutes. I’m sure the others in our lab are counting down the days until the interns leave. I have a lot more to say about what I’ve learned from working so far this summer, but much of it is deeply personal (which means boring) or could take pages to write, so I’ll end that for now.
One of my goals for this summer was studying for the GRE. Yes, that goes on my daily list of To-Do’s. The last thing I want to do when I come home from work is study for the GRE, but I have been studying every single day. This sadly includes weekends. Unfortunately, the lack of attention I paid to math in high school is really catching up to me here. As I was hiking the other day, I started repeating to Joe all of the little formulas I had to recently (re?) learn. Don’t worry, I didn’t count that as my studying for the day! As frustrating as it is to study for a stupid test I have to pay hundreds of dollars to take to get into a school I have to spend hundreds more dollars to apply to (there goes a few days of work!), I do feel like it is sharpening my mind a little bit every time when I miss the tricky little questions. I think I might’ve even gotten a bit faster at solving small problems at work because of it. Interestingly enough, Joe and I usually miss the opposite questions on the practice tests. This is helpful as he can always explain them to me (if I am patient enough to listen).
I have lots of other goals for the summer besides GRE, studying, and working. One of them is to get better at healthy eating. We have been juicing every week, as well as trying out a few new and healthy recipes weekly. Joe laughs at me because I plan out every week’s lunch and dinner on a spreadsheet beforehand, but I don’t know how to both eat healthy and be financially responsible otherwise. It is hard to eat the large quantities of fruits and vegetables you have to buy before they go bad unless you plan out the meals accordingly. Additionally, working this food into healthy meals for lunches means we never have to go out during the day and spend more money. Lastly, if you plan in advance, you make fewer store trips during the week which = more time + more money.
The meals are not the only things that go on my weekly spreadsheet: both activities and exercise have to go on there too! Since we are carpooling to work, we have to plan everything in advance to reduce extra driving. Additionally, plans have to be made in advance to avoid traffic or sit out traffic in a coffee shop and study. The interns have been coordinating many events during the week that I try to go to, and I have been going to the gym at times with one of my intern partners. These events give Joe a good amount of time to do things with his co-workers. We try to work exercise in daily, but that manifests itself in different ways each day: hiking, kayaking, biking, long boarding, or classes. I know I have gotten much stronger since the summer began, and I am excited to continue the upward trend.
Here are a few small and random highlights from the last few weeks.