Earlier I was cleaning my room even though I had just cleaned it two days ago. My mom considered my room to be a “trashed mess” because I had a pair of cargo shorts, a Subway visor, a Macbook charger, and two or three t-shirts sprawled throughout my brown carpet. When I bent down to pick up my charger I noticed something under my bed, a receipt from the month of June.
I think of myself as a hoarder when it comes to these slips of paper. My mom owns her own business so she has saved receipts since I was little so I have gotten in the habit of doing the same. The slip was from a Five Guys Restaurant in Columbus that my dad and I stopped at on my way home from college for the summer. When I looked at the receipt date of Friday June 8th today, I couldn’t believe that two months had already gone by since then. I realized that my summer was spent and that in just under a week I would be moved in back in Athens to begin my second year at Ohio University.
To be honest, my summer hasn’t been anything too special. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been bad, but I have certainly had more exciting summers. As most of my friends and family know, I totaled my car back in the winter, which forced me to get a summer job at a factory. After being home for only two days, I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to begin my job at Whirlpool, the largest washing machine factory in the world.
That morning, I had no idea what to expect, all I knew was that I would rather be interviewing interesting people, writing stories, or reading a book by the pool. When I walked through the metal doors, my mind was instantly made up that I never wanted to “make a career” out of a factory job. I was surrounded by loud noises, fork lifts (which Whirlpool employees call Jeeps for some reason), and fellow co-workers who looked miserable. You could practically absorb the depression and sadness in the air through the pores of your skin.
My first job was simple, too simple really. My line leader told me that I was to inspect the plastic tubs that the basket of the washing machine is placed in as they passed on the assembly line. I was to look for cracks and other deformities like indentations in the plastic. If I didn’t find any I just took a Sharpie pen and drew a quick line on the tub to show that the equipment had been properly inspected. If I did come across a crack, I was to place a red sticker on it to show that it was defective. At first I thought, “Wow this is cake!” then the first 45 minutes went by and I realized I had 7 hours and 15 minutes to go. I practically went insane. I tried to keep my mind occupied by naming the fifty states in my head, imagining listening to my favorite songs, or planning the rest of my day. I did everything in my power to not look at the clock.
Fortunately I only had to inspect tubs for 7 days, before I got a different series of jobs at the factory. Unlike the inspecting job, I was close enough to other employees to be within speaking distance of them. To help pass the time, I did what a journalist like myself does best, talk to people, and listen to their stories. I met many interesting people at Whirlpool. There even was a 60 year-old lady who called me her “sugar” who told me I was her eye candy for the day. I wish I was joking, but unfortunately I’m not. Although there were a few strange people behind the factory walls, most people were extremely friendly and were just at Whirlpool for the single reason I was… money. I got close to my coworkers and we shared numerous stories about our friends and family with one another. Each and every person I worked with told me the same thing: “STAY IN SCHOOL!” I responded the same way each time in saying, “Trust me, I will.”
I was at Whirlpool for exactly two months. I am so glad to be out, but I really will miss some of the people I worked with.
Besides working at Whirlpool, I also picked up some extra shifts at my town’s local Subway. I worked at Subway throughout high school and am quite the sandwich artist if I say so myself.
Although I did work nonstop throughout the summer, I still managed to have some fun. On my days off, I would try and catch up with my friends any chance I could get. I also read quite a bit, although not as much as I had originally hoped. My two favorite summer reads were Animal Farm and Slaughterhouse Five.
I did have some days this summer that I was down. I felt as though I was wasting my summer away, because I wasn’t at an internship or doing things in my chosen field of journalism. I know now that I made the right decision in working throughout the summer. Given the fact that I am already thousands of dollars in debt with student loans, I needed to make and save money this summer. I know that there is still time to intern at places throughout the country especially since I will be able to graduate a whole year early from college.
After working 10 of the 11 weeks of my first summer after my freshman year of college, my sister and I ended the summer with a bang, or a jump really. I was able to check something huge off of my bucket list. The two of us made the journey to Middletown Ohio to go skydiving, which I have wanted to do since I was 15.
Hurling my body out of an airplane at 13,000 feet has been the greatest feeling that I have ever experienced in my twenty years of living. I don’t know if it was from the risk of death, high speeds, or extreme height, but I was high on life when I jumped from that airplane. The euphoria is indescribable. All that I can do is just recommend people to go skydiving. I know it is crazy, but it is entirely worth it and the feeling is invaluable. I know that I will do it again and I cannot wait until that day I free-fall towards the earth for those sweet 60 seconds before a parachute puts my thrill to an abrupt halt.
I had a great summer and enjoyed bonfires with friends, lounging by the pool with my family, and of course risking my life by jumping out of a plane, but I am ready to go back to my second home in Athens. I am looking forward to getting back in the routine of going to class and being in a newsroom. Although, I am going to miss my friends and family in Clyde, I know that it will be good to be back at OU.