Sorry for the small print, but I guess the fact that it took that much minimizing of the calendar to show what I did over the break helps to show the hustle and bustle. As you already know from the previous post, my break started out with a great trip to the Pacific Northwest. This part of America is absolutely beautiful and I’m already looking for opportunities to go back and visit again. Read more about my trip to Seattle and Portland by checking out my “Hello Seattle” post.
After I got back from my trip, I began taking GOV312 online at Midland Community College. Overall, it was pretty easy, but it definitely took a good chunk of time to complete all of the assignments and exams. I highly recommend taking a class online over the winter break, mainly the “have to do it, but actually useless” required classes, because they can be finished relatively easily, at a fraction of the cost of summer school at UT, and at your own pace over the winter break while still allowing you to vacation and travel.
I got a bit tired of being in San Antonio though after two weeks of doing government class and laying around doing literally nothing the majority of the time, so my friends and I decided to take a trip out to Big Bend National Park. The drive across was interesting because it was my first time through the barren world known as west Texas, but completely BEARable since it was with friends. Big Bend had great camping and a lot of trails and mountains. I hiked a good amount during the days that we were there and enjoyed the natural hot springs during the night. It was also the closest I’ve ever been to Mexico and the Park and Mexico were only separated by the twenty foot width of Rio Grande River… Border Patrol should probably check it out a little bit closer. Best part of the experience was being able to look up and see the stars vividly at night, I even bought a constellation guide to help me ID the patterns. Curse you Austin and all of your light pollution!
But I was having a little too much fun and my brain began to rot, so when I came back from Big Bend I headed to Robert, Louisiana for the Shell Drilling and Production Camp with a bunch of students from UT and LSU. Great learning experience that taught me a lot about how they find and extract oil from the ground, especially offshore on deepwater platforms in the Gulf of Mexico — a specialty of Shell’s. The facility that the camp was at was in the middle of nowhere, but the inside was well furnished and there was free food everywhere. Hopefully this information will help me at my job a little bit. If nothing else, I at least got to escape from a helicopter model that was upside down underwater! Just like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjQFTQpW988 (this is not me, just a video of the training I did)
I’m now finally settled into where I will be until May as a co-op working for ExxonMobil in Baytown. I had my first day of work today which was not as glorious an occasion as one would like to think — mainly filled out paperwork and tried to log into my computer (which is incredibly slow by the way … ). I’ll do a complete Week 1 Recap on Friday, so don’t you fret. I feel like this post is already long enough.
Great winter vacation and I was able to keep myself busy for most of the time. It’s a lot better than freshman year where I did significantly less during winter break, much to my disappointment. I vowed to never let that happen again, and this is a great start! Enjoy the spring semester!