It’s the time that co-op students fear the most, that dreadful first day back of classes after being away for 6 months. It could be worse though, right? Your first day could be a 12 hour day so it’s not as bad? Well my first day was a 12 hour day so it took some time getting used to. My first day of the quarter went from 10 AM to 10 PM, with my only breaks being from 12 Noon - 1PM and 4-6 PM, so yeah getting adjusted back to classes was not going to happen right away.
Despite this, it has not has been as difficult as I might have imagined, especially since my schedule the rest of the week is a little more nicely timed. Although it is definitely quite the change. I have to start by backtracking with the end of my co-op experience.
The second half of it moved even faster than the first as I found myself experiencing some new things that I had not yet in college or in my work experience. I had my first Labor Day off since high school, although I spent the day driving back to Massachusetts from Rochester after working the New Student Orientation program for the second straight year. Three weeks later, I found myself traveling to Las Vegas for the week to attend the Pack Expo conference.
Pack Expo is the largest packaging show in North America, and it alternates between Las Vegas and Chicago. Not exactly the worst places to have to travel for business in life. And I did get to travel as part of my work assignment, doing business research for both myself and for Ocean Spray. The networking opportunities were fantastic during this week. I even got to go visit an Ocean Spray manufacturing plant for a tour in Henderson right near by. And who doesn’t enjoy a trip to Vegas after all?
Then it was back to work and I stayed very busy for the remaining two months I had left, even down to the last day on the job. I had the opportunity to visit another Ocean Spray plant closer by on a 2 day road trip in New Jersey and it worked out that the following weekend beginning the next day I had a family wedding to attend in New York City. After that I came back for my final week, which was bittersweet. The best part about spending through November was being able to see the bogs during the harvest (see picture).
Then came my hectic week of moving. In 9 days I packed up my room, drove to Rochester, flew home to Nashville, spent the week of Thanksgiving at home, flew back to Rochester, moved all of my stuff in, and then had class beginning the next day. Did I mention that day was 12 hours long?
Getting used to a different schedule that is ever changing is the most difficult thing to get adjusted to. On co-op it was simple; get up, go to work, come home by 5, make dinner, unwind, and go to bed. Monday through Friday I had the same schedule, with even half day fridays in the summer. No homework, papers, or projects to do out of the office, no tests to worry about the next day. Weekends I had so much time on my hands, I could get everything done I needed to and still have plenty of time to enjoy my weekend. Being back at school is different; in simple terms, my day doesn’t come close to ending at 5. And it’s only week two. I will get adjusted back to the craziness of being a student with all the extra things I do on campus outside of class, but it will take some time.