Back to School

Since I haven’t blogged since last spring (I got the summer off), I have a lot to tell you!

First off, I’m excited to tell you that I was awarded the most valuable rider on the stock seat team at our team banquet last spring!  Overall, I think everyone worked very hard and I’m excited to start the season again and meet all our new freshman recruits!  But back to my summer updates…

For the first part of summer, I spent seven weeks at Albion for Gerstacker summer school, which is required for all sophomore Gerstacker students to make up for the credits we’ll miss while on internships.  I had been told that GSS would be the time of my life, but the first week of classes did nothave me convinced.  My business functions class was taught by my favorite professor, John Bedient, so I knew that class wouldn’t be horrible, but I was unsure about my professional communication class and my business ethics class.

Fellow blogger (and Gerstacker classmate) Sarah Morris and I at the Gerstacker etiquette dinner.

In the end, I was right about Professor Bedient’s class; we basically reviewed a variety of business aspects such as marketing and accounting and we also did a business simulation called Micromatic, which involved creating and running our own business online by controlling production, assets, marketing, and more.  My group took second overall, but we were first in over five consecutive quarters and we would have won if it had not been for one group talking to the previous GSS students for advice.  (Cheaters!)  Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed my communication class because it was interesting and I knew everyone in the class so I was comfortable talking in front of them.  Ethics was another story. For every hour we had of class, there was another 3 hours of homework to go with it.  (Yuck!)

Outside of class, the Gerstacker staff organized a variety of events for us that revolved around networking, including a trip to a Tigers game, visiting alumni, mock interviews with a variety of potential internship locations, a professional development day, an etiquette dinner, and – the best part of all – a weekend trip to Chicago!  Included in the Chicago visit was a visit to Gatorade Headquarters, an urban farm, a vegetarian restaurant, and a newspaper office on Black Wall Street.

Hello, Chicago!

The highlight for me?  A behind-the-scenes visit to Shedd Aquarium!  The rest of the time, we were free to the wander the city, so we visited places such as Millennium Park, the Willis Tower, Dick’s Last Resort, and Navy Pier.  (Needless to say, we all had a blast.)  But even with all of these events and activities, I think the best part of GSS was getting to know the other sophomores in the program.  We spent time out at Professor Bedient’s father’s lake house together (I told you he was the best professor!) and we also organized a few activities on our own.

Even though I was here in Albion for a large part of my summer, I did find time to fit in a LMHA horse show with Image. It was my first time ever showing in an adult class (19-30), so I was a little nervous at first, but by the end of the first day I had everyone in my age group wondering where the kid on the paint horse who was beating them all had come from.  Overall, I finished in the top two in my Hunt Seat Pleasure, Western Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, and Sr. Western Horse classes, and I won my Hunt Seat Equitation classes on both days!  I also was Reserve Grand Champion in Western Pleasure my second day under judge Trevor Walton.  I also had the opportunity to compete in reining on Image and, although we did not do as well as I had hoped (there were a few real reiners in there), she nailed all of her flying lead changes (a first!) and was a very good girl.  I also managed to go team penning a few times like last summer and Image loved it as usual.

I spent most of the rest of my time either waitressing at the Portage Yacht Club or out in the barn.  Image developed a mammary gland infection towards the end of summer (poor girl), so I got to stand and do warm and cold compresses on her tummy four times a day for a week.  Luckily she’s good about taking antibiotics and Bute so it wasn’t too much of a hassle.  In the meantime, our old guy, Tuffy quit eating for a few days so we were worried about him, but it turns out he had an abscessed tooth.  Sadly, he is officially off hay because his teeth are so bad, but he still looks great for a 31 year old horse.

Image and I, ready to team pen. (Look, Ma - no hands!)

My only real vacation was a short trip to Windsor (my first time ever out of the country!) with my boyfriend, James, who I’ve mentioned previously.  For his birthday, I got him a baby tortoise named Herald – he’s so cute!  As for me, I still have Mr. Balloons, the puffer fish I got for my birthday last year, as well.  He’s grown a lot over the summer and will be joining me here in Albion next weekend!

It’s great to be back at school (although I could have used a little more summer); I’m excited to see my friends and hang out with my fellow Gerstacker students.  So far classes are going well (did I mention 3 of them are with Bedient?) and I plan to have a great semester!  Team tryouts are next week, so I’ll be writing again soon!

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