Thursday, October 22, 2009

I need a 6th gear.

Ok, so, that’s a pretty terrible reference to driving a manual car. But, I am kinda OK with being a big dork and doing that.

Anyway, the point is that I need to somehow kick my butt into a faster gear. Sometimes I think internship allows you to run in 4th or 5th gear for most of the time, at least compared to school. In my opinion it’s not nearly as intense as classes are and allows for a lot more time flexibility than we had with classes. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all cupcakes and puppies (how I wish I could have both right now!), but it’s also not nearly as time or energy intensive as the normal school year.

(No more manual car driving references from here on out…)

And, internship is even different than a full time job. When I worked at NG, I was pretty easily working 50 hours a week. On a light week. And, it was sometimes stress city because I had so many people asking me for help and wanting me to get involved in new things. Since your internship project is typically something you own yourself and might not allow you to fully integrate with the organization since it's short term, the level of involvement is naturally much less.

BUT, there may come a time, as there has for me this week, when you realize that the laid back summer is over and the Fall is here – full-time job recruiting and finishing your internship project are upon you. This might mean a lot more intensity than before. Not just at the internship but also in the evenings. In July, I worked my 7.5 hours (I’m in Europe after all; I was just trying to blend in!) and accomplished what I needed to; I then went home, maybe played tennis with Drew or ran, cooked dinner, learned German on Rosetta Stone and still had 2 or 3 hours to stalk, err, catch up with people on Facebook or read my Google Reader articles. Times have changed. Now, I am not only working a lot harder, but when I go home I have to motivate myself to write cover letters, practice for interviews and really do some serious soul searching about what I want to do when I grow up.

So, with the new stresses (and possibly the fact that I turned a year older last week), I seem to be noticing more grey hairs. But, the bottom line is, I need to find that 6th gear again and push through the next 2 months (ok, I lied about no more driving references), cause come this time in December, I will hopefully have accepted the “perfect” job offer and will be enjoying the Christmas holidays and a 6 week break.

P.S. Our car actually doesn't have a 6th gear. It's sometimes a bummer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Newest Skill

I kinda pride myself on being a rock star driver. I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Also, I am a Californian, so I LOVE driving. But, sadly, I was missing a key skill, because I never had the chance to drive a manual. A good friend in High School let me drive his truck in the parking lot occasionally so I could do it in an emergency, but mostly, I just knew "the rules" but not really HOW to do it.

Fortunately, in Europe, nearly every rental car is a manual. This means, I can now drive one. And. I. Love. It. It was a slow beginning at first because Drew lives further from work than I do and loves driving, so he drove about 99% of the time. Until finally, I got so frustrated one day when I drove the car cause Drew wasn't around and I totally sucked. That's when I told Drew I needed to drive more. And, since then, it's been great.

I'm kinda proud of myself because it's almost a skill I never thought I'd have. Not because I didn't want to learn, but because in the US, there's really no reason to learn unless you want to drive something specific.

So, the best part about this is that the new car opportunities are now wide open for when I graduate. I am open to car suggestions. :)

P.S. I am sure Drew will make a more detailed post about this at some point, but our Ford Fiesta had to go back to the rental place (we think for an oil change and whatever other services were needed), so now we have a new car. Introducing the Orange Nissan Micra, the color might actually be duller in the picture than it appears in real life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Midstream, Meeting the '11s and Rum & Diet Cokes

Drew and I are currently "stuck" in Washington D.C.; our flight from D.C. to Frankfurt was delayed about 4 hours. This isn't great, but it means, I'm going to post a blog update about the past 2 weeks. Lucky you!

It was really a whirlwind 2 weeks. The original purpose of the trip was our LGO Midstream Review. However, we also had a lot of Novartis things to do, including a 3 day trip to the site in Holly Springs, NC.

First, my time in Boston back at MIT.
The main event during midstream is the presentations that we give to our classmates, advisers and company representatives on the current status of our projects. The presentations are only 8 minutes long, but are followed by poster sessions during which we stand next to our pretty posters and try to sound smart as we answer questions about the work we are doing. I was kind of skeptical, honestly, but it turned out to be really great to share lessons learned and it was neat to hear about what others were doing, and of course, to hear about their fun adventures over the summer.

One of the best aspects of midstream is catching up with the rest of the Sloanies and getting to know the other LGO class. I was able to hang out with a lot of Sloanies when I went to the U2 concert with a lot of them, and, of course, at BHP. It was so nice to see everyone - it's like coming home. Also, one of the annual traditions of LGO is a 2-class camping trip the weekend after midstream. This. Rocked. (well, besides the freezing cold weather) It was great to get to know the new class outside of the confines of the Sloan walls and they are a lot of fun. I am guessing when the 10's return in the Spring we'll have a blast hanging out with them.

Finally, Novartis. Besides all of the crazy MIT sessions we had to attend during the week, the 4 of us at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics (NVD) had a kinda big presentation to give to the NVD Operations Management Team. We presented from the Cambridge, MA office between 7 and 9 am so that our Europe managers could participate. It was a video conference between MA, NC, England, Germany and Italy. It was neat - yeah, I'm a dork. The second big NVD event was a trip to Holly Springs, NC. This was 2 days spent visiting the site, learning about the future plans and goals and meeting a lot of people that we'd interacted with on the phone. It was a terrific trip, and I can't emphasize enough how great NVD has been. They've really showed us all sides of the business and allowed us to integrate into the organization. It's pretty awesome.

Now, I know I didn't touch on the rum & diet cokes... but really, do I need to? The point is that in Europe coke is expensive and beer is pretty tasty. As a result, I was missing my all time favorite drink. So, I made sure to enjoy a few rum & diets while back in the US of A.