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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1538.jpgMeet Jerry Lawman, a junior international business major at Waynesburg University. This semester, he will be interning at Bosch in Germany and will share his experiences right here on the Waynesburg blog. 

I am a junior International Business major here at Waynesburg and I am currently interning in the Controlling Department for Bosch in Ludwigsburg, Germany. I knew from the beginning that this international internship was going to be a huge step out of my comfort zone, especially because I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S. 

It was my first flight overseas and I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on January 28 with no plans on where to stay until I moved into my apartment February 1. I figured it would be a fun experience to figure everything out when I got there, and it was! I met so many helpful people. 

My first step was to get a German SIM card for my phone. From there, two men helped me book a hostel and helped me carry my luggage all the way there. I was shocked by how helpful they were. They said they have a saying in China, “If you are going to help someone, you help them all the way through.” 

After my jet lag wore off the next day, I started to explore the city of Stuttgart. It is one of the biggest cities I have ever been to. This is also the first time I have ever used public transportation, so the trains and buses took me a couple days to figure how everything worked. My stay at the hostel was a great experience, however. I met people from all over the world like Argentina, Jordan, Australia, India, Turkey and Germany as well. Many of them are now my friends on Facebook and we will probably stay in touch. 

I met many other people on the streets while exploring; because I was lost, people would help me get to where I needed to go and some of these people I am now friends with. It is just crazy how many people you meet when you go to a different country like this.  

I finally moved in to my apartment the day before I started work and my landlord was very helpful to me and helped me find out how to register at the town hall and even let me use some extra bedding because I could not pack my own bedding. It is a furnished six person shared apartment, however, and there will be all interns living here who will work for Porsche and Komet. 

They helped me find out my route for my first day of work and other things that would have been hard to do by myself. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work and I arrive about 20 to 30 minutes early every day. I made sure to make a good first impression by wearing a suit my first day and wearing a nice shirt and tie every day after. 

I was introduced to everyone in the controlling department where I will work, and everyone speaks at least a little English so I can communicate with everyone. The first few days I started to learn some of my tasks and what I will be doing. A lot of my work will involve Excel, but the first few days I had to learn Excel in German so it was very difficult at first. 

I am trying to learn as much as I can from the two other interns, as they will be done with their internships in a couple weeks - then I will be the only intern in this department. Our main tasks include resources controlling, business planning, monthly business reporting and other controlling related activities. 

In my first week of work, I tried to show my willingness to learn and perform, as well as show them how I can be proactive and a strong team player. Being the only American in my department at Bosch is definitely a great experience to learn about cultures different from my own. 

About Bosch: Bosch home appliances is part of BSH, BSH Home Appliances Group, based in Munich, Germany. As part of the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world, Bosch has been selling high performance German-engineered major home appliances and cooking appliances in the United States since 1991. Known nationwide for raising the standards in appliance quietness, efficiency and integrated design, Bosch frequently receives top ratings in leading consumer publications and is the winner of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Energy Star® Sustained Excellence Award. With U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA, the company operates an appliance park in New Bern, North Carolina, comprised of state-of-the-art factories for dishwashers, ranges, ovens and cooktops.

 

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Paul R. Stewart Museum

Did you know that Waynesburg University has its very own museum? The basement of Miller Hall is dedicated to the historic preservations of this University. After taking a stroll through the museum, I took a moment to ponder why I hadn’t gone to see it sooner in my college career! There are so many interesting artifacts like course catalogues from the 1800s, drawings from one of the first female graduates and an old football used to win the championship game decades ago. Even though current students weren’t a part of those times, we are still connected and folded into the purpose of this institution. It was fascinating to see how much the University has grown since 1849 and how the traditions from that era have remained steady and strong.

Read the syllabus AND keep it handy

Let me make this very clear. The syllabus is your best friend. Do not make the mistake of shoving it far into the bottom of your backpack on the first day of class and never looking at it again. Keep a syllabus for each class handy so you can refer back to it when necessary.

*True Story* - Recently, I had a professor who started handing out an exam immediately after walking into the classroom. Unfortunately, most of the class, including myself, did not remember there was an exam that day. The professor proceeded to explain that the *syllabus* has every exam clearly listed out for the entire semester. Don’t be the student to make this same mistake! Read the syllabus, highlight and mark down dates in your planner. Your future self will thank you.

Seniors, take your resume to Marie Coffman

If you’re like me and the sound of the word “resume” makes you shudder in despair, I suggest you take a trip to the third floor of Stover and knock on Marie Coffman’s door. She is the Director of Career Services and Placement and is an aid to any student who needs help with resumes, cover letters, references, etc. After speaking to several of my classmates, I felt strongly encouraged to seek her assistance with my future career planning. Waynesburg University has a plethora of people who are here to help students. Utilize these resources while you can!

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 “Why faith?” I heard some of my classmates ask towards the end of class. “Why not focus more on learning instead?”

I sat quietly in the corner of the room listening to the conversation between my classmates, and realized I had never really thought much about it before. Waynesburg University and faith had always gone hand-in-hand for me. It’s one of the many reasons I chose this school. But what is it that makes faith such an important element to a Christian campus like Waynesburg? That’s what my classmates wanted to know, and that was the question that kept drumming through my head for the rest of the day.

As my classmates began packing their things, quickly transitioning into various other conversations, I remained silent, thinking. Even as I exited the room, my thumbs hooked through the straps of my book bag, the question kept presenting itself to me. Why faith?

When I reflect back on my college career I remember weekly Chapel services, Sunday night student-led worship services, heart-to-hearts with professors—all things that have influenced my experience at Waynesburg. Everything I have learned throughout my four years here has somehow referenced back to my faith, causing me to grow in ways I never imagined I could.

So, why is faith so important? In my own words, this is what I came up with:

  • Faith is the foundation, not only to Waynesburg University, but also in many of our lives—it’s where things began. When we look back at our history, not only as a University, but also as a country, faith was the driving force that got us on our feet, something we proudly fought for and defended. With that foundation, even when the walls shake and crumble, there is always hope for restoration.
  • Faith is a source of joy, hope and love. I know how hard it is not to fall into the selfish, materialistic ways of society. What’s in it for me seems to be the mantra of the world today. Through my experience, this constant push to be perfect only leads to self-destruction, but when we focus our lives on faith instead, we realize just how perfect we are in God’s eyes. It’s not about what we wear, what we look like or how much money we have; it’s about finding ourselves lost in the beautiful, boundless love of Christ. Through faith, we can experience a joyful, hopeful, loving way of life, free of charge.
  • Faith pushes our boundaries. One of the things I have loved and hated most about my faith is that it challenges me to think beyond my reasoning and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Faith is not about being comfortable and it’s certainly not easy, but when we find ourselves wrapped up in it, the end result is nothing short of rewarding. When I find myself questioning anything, including my faith, I find myself learning. This is what makes the pairing of faith and learning together so endearing to me. A well-developed faith often comes through trial and error, much like learning a skill in the classroom. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t, but just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean the answer isn’t out there. Often times it takes patience and a willingness to accept things through a fresh set of eyes.
  • Faith gives us something to look forward to both today and in the future to come. When everything else seems to fall apart, faith is the crutch we are given to help us stand. God wants us to come to Him with our problems. He wants us to know that through Him all things are possible. With Him, nothing can tear us a part. Through our faith, we know God has promised us a future, even as we step into the unknown. This gives me the strength to get out of bed each morning despite my racing anxieties of what the future holds. For, I am a child of God.

 

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Just as March quickly faded into April like the swatches on a color wheel, graduation has become less of a dream and more of a reality. Going to Waynesburg and earning my undergraduate degree has been my life for the last four years—a life I have looked forward to and a life that has shown me I can handle more than I thought. Change is on the horizon and the more I think about it, the more nervous I become.

“What’s next?” people ask.

“I’m not sure,” I respond in honesty. 

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am not someone who embraces change easily. I have the same morning routine no matter the day of the week; I’ve gone to the same church my entire life and lived in the same town; I’ve always done what’s comfortable.

I hear my classmates talk about their plans to go on to graduate school and then get their doctorates. I’m proud of them. Their plans sound so crisp and attractive, but are those same plans for me? 

I’ve sat in my classes trying to absorb everything I can, grasping at each and every word as if they are the last remnants of some sort of ancient colony. I’ve collected those words, organized them and placed them inside a clear glass case in hopes that, one day, I can help future generations learn from and admire them as I did. Even as I go back through everything I have stored in my memory bank, my mind wildly races: am I really ready for this?

Of course you are, God answers. Have I not gotten you this far?

My faith is a constant reminder to me of what’s in store for my future, even when I have no idea where my life is going. There is no question I’m entering a time of change. My life is going to be flipped inside out, washed, pressed and hung to dry, but one thing will always remain the same: the love my Savior has for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.." Jeremiah 29: 11

This very verse has gotten me through my entire undergraduate career and is sure to get me through even more as I enter the new stages of my life. Even when the prospects of college, jobs, marriage, kids and a mortgage seemed like distant fairytales, God was preparing my heart for them, watching me transform into the person He wants me to be.

I know this journey is far from over, but with the things I have learned as a student at Waynesburg and in prayer, I also know I have the ability to harness my nerves so God can lead me to the place I’m meant to be.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_P10405671.jpgThis week I did something I've never done before, something that I, and I'm sure many people out there, have wanted to do, even if just to cross it off their bucket list: I climbed a mountain. Not just any mountain, either, but Slieve Donard, the highest mountain not only in Northern Ireland's Mourne Mountain range, but in the country all together. I wasn't originally going to; my friends and I just wanted to go into the Mournes, because they're pretty and I know songs about them. The woman at the visitor center pointed it out, though, and informed us of its status, and we thought, "why not?" 

Well, there are a good many reasons "why not." It's exhausting and takes forever, and just when you think you're almost there, you round a bend and see a whole other portion you couldn't before, and you can almost hear the stupid mountain mocking your pain. Then you get to the top and have to hang on tight because you feel like you're going to be blown clear off the other side. I don't know if I'd ever had quite so clear a demonstration of the "fear of God," before, but the peak of that mountain painted a pretty spectacular analogy for me. By the time I was done I was spent. I had blisters, my feet were no longer positive they knew how to function properly, my legs felt like jelly and I was starving. 

And it was incredible. 

I think anyone who has ever done something like this can liken it to a life lesson or something philosophical. There are certainly enough songs out there to prove it (ex. "Climb Every Mountain," "The Climb," etc.). Most people have "mountains" in their lives and it's nice to hear songs that encourage you through them.  However, actually pounding the pavement, so to speak, definitely gives you a fresh perspective, (as well as a good deal more respect for the characters in Lord of the Rings). 

Standing on the top of Slieve Donard, I felt a lot of things. I wasn't kidding when I said I was afraid I was going to be blown away, because I was legitimately terrified; the wind was quite literally pushing me around. At one point it actually knocked me over. I wasn't kidding about the "fear of God" comment either. As petrified as I was of it, I was in complete awe of the gusts' power, and really, genuinely grateful for it the last few feet up the slope, because I wasn't positive I'd make it if not for that push.

 I also felt wonder; I don't think you can look down at the world from that high and not experience a sense of wonder. This earth is truly a beautiful creation, and this island is a chilly little paradise as far as I'm concerned. One of the biggest things I felt, though, was a crazy sense of “Wow." Wow, look at this; wow, I'm on top of a mountain; wow, wow, wow, I did it, I made it. On top of all of that, too, I knew I couldn't have done it without a little help; I kept sending silent wee prayers up periodically, and I couldn't help but send up one of thanks when that strong wind forced me up that last stretch. I hate to sound cliché, but it felt like one of those life lessons to me. I didn't think I could make it, and with His help, I did. I think that says a lot. 

So yes, it was hard; yes, it was grueling; yes, I was genuinely afraid I was going to die. There were points I wanted to stop and go no further, but I am forever going to be grateful that I kept going. Because, at the end of it all, it was amazing, and so, so worth the trouble. 

 

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