can we not…

*While I normally only write about my internship experiences, I decided to take a break and address a current issue that’s going on.

Throughout the last year, my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with blog posts with titles like “20 things all 20 somethings should be doing” or “How to get the most enjoyment out of being 20 something”. And after about the fourth one I read, I was D O N E. These blogs are so unrealistic to the majority of us 20 somethings. They’re all about making a name for yourself, making new friends, and taking time to get to know yourself and who you truly are. That’s all fine and dandy, but I just spent the last four years of undergrad finding out who I am and I don’t really think that’s going to change just because some blog told me I should spend the rest of this decade of my life reflecting on that.

What these blogs don’t paint a picture of is what’s its really like to be a post grad 20 something and how it’s not always the greatest time in your life. They don’t tell you that you most likely won’t be living near your college friends any more, or even if you are, you all have real jobs now and don’t get to grab icees at 2 in the afternoon or order Dominos at midnight. They don’t tell you how tough it is to move to a new city where you know very few people if anyone at all. They also don’t tell you how much it sucks to be an unpaid intern that the college degree you worked your butt off to get in four years or under will barely pay you more than minimum wage starting out.

What I want is a realistic twenty something blog saying, “This new stage in life can suck sometimes, but it can also be pretty great.” I need to hear that I’m not the only one who ate a bag of candy corn for dinner or that didn’t know how to write a check a month ago. I want someone who hates meeting new people and making new friends just as much as I do but is doing it anyway so that I don’t always feel lonely. I want to know that there are other people out there who hate working out but do it anyway because if you don’t all the mozzarella sticks you get from Sonic will make you gain weight. I want someone to say it’s okay to be single throughout your twenties, because it doesn’t mean you’ll end up a lonely old spinster cat lady (even though I’m half way there with the cat part). And I want someone to say it’s okay to cry when you think about how much you miss your friends and family.

God tells us that never will I leave you and never will I forsake you. It’s comforting during this trying time of grad school, new jobs, new people, and new cities that no matter where you are, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, or Virginia, that God never changes. The God that my friends and I praised every Sunday and Wednesday in our church in Tuscaloosa is the same one that I pray to every morning in the car on my way to work. He’s the same God that I talk about with friends who are hundreds of miles away and He’s the same God that brings me comfort through this time of my life.

So if you’re a twenty something out there and you’re reading this, I hope you can relate. I hope I’m not the only one out there who’s feeling this way.

Here’s to us, the awkwardly placed middle of the twenty something generation, I think we’re all going to make it!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

-C.S. Lewis

look out jackson town

It’s been two weeks since I began calling Jackson home. After my graduate classes wrapped up at the end of July, I spent two weeks in Birmingham where I watched Netflix all day and refused to open my laptop. After two weeks of resting, I traveled back to Hattiesburg one last time for orientation before heading to Jackson permanently to begin my internship.

Our last day of class aka nutrition boot camp

Our last day of class aka nutrition boot camp

This semester of my internship is being spent rotating through the various aspects of the management side of the dietetic field. I began my rotations on Monday August 17th at Mississippi State Hospital or Whitfield Hospital. For those who are unfamiliar with this area, this hospital provides treatment to those suffering from a mental illness or chemical dependency as well as an on-site nursing home facility. I use the term hospital lightly because Whitfield is more of a residential campus than a hospital. The campus is comprised of 300 acres of land with over 100 buildings that were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Going into this rotation, I imagined a creepy facility that would be the prime location for a scary movie but the hospital is exactly the opposite. The campus is absolutely beautiful and has a quiet southern charm to it.

First day of rotations

First day of rotations

The food service operation at the hospital is G I N O R M O U S. They provide 3 meals a day along with snacks to roughly 900 patients/ residents as well as 35 men at the MDOC. There is a cafeteria for the hospital staff and well as a cafeteria for those patients who are permitted to eat offsite from their assigned building. The last two weeks I’ve been rotating through every aspect of the kitchen. This includes all of the sections of food production (bakery, entrees, salads, puree, snacks). I’ve helped to deliver food to buildings, watch the building staff serve the patient meals, and personally served meals to patients in the cafeteria. I helped with the receiving of food items (think huge Sysco truck, 4am, and me in an industrial sized freezer counting boxes of French toast sticks) and I’ve worked a day in the diet office (think 9 hours of me answering phone calls about things that I have no idea about and cutting pieces of paper in half for the tray tickets). I’ve also gotten the chance to help with the finances by paying bills and ordering food.

Also got me some glasses over my break

Also got me some glasses over my break

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this rotation. During my undergrad classes, I never had an interest in foodservice and to be honest, I still don’t think it’s the area for me. That being said, I have the utmost respect for anyone who chooses to work in a foodservice operation, especially one in a hospital-like setting. The work is long and tiring and pay is not enough for the work actually being done. I’ve witnessed employees go above and beyond what their job description entails and that’s a huge reflection on the great management staff as well as the company.

My new baby Riley

My new baby Riley

In two weeks, I will be taking a break from the State Hospital until November. During my break from the facility I will spend two weeks in the Clinton School System, one week at the Jackson Health Department (WIC), and four weeks at St. Dominic’s Hospital. If I had it my way, I would spend my entire management rotation at the State Hospital. I’ve been here two weeks but I’ve grown to love the people and the community that the foodservice staff has. I know the fact that I’m not completely miserable during this rotation is all Jesus. Before I had even been accepted into an internship, I asked God that if it was his will for me to become an intern, that He would surround me with great people that would hold my values as well as those that I would be able to be an example too. And like always, God delivered, and for that I will be forever grateful.

“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Internship Countdown: 2 weeks down, 31 weeks to go!