Transitions

Next week will probably be my last week in my current office. I have been offered a position here at Future Fuel this summer, and although I am not quite sure where this position will be, I’m pretty sure it will be different from the job I have currently in Health and Safety. I’ve enjoyed my short time here in my office, and the work I’ve been doing has been very cool. I know that regardless of where I go in the company I’ll be doing something that I enjoy. The work that I’m currently doing involves taking an inventory of all the substances we’ve used at the company in our chemical processes over the last ten years. There is a new reset being done regarding what we have to declare in our inventory as a chemical company. It has taken me quite a while, but I’m finally almost done with it. From there I will try to finish as many projects as I can before having to leave in a week or two.

Unfortunately, finals are just around the corner as well. Classes have been tough this year, but I’m certainly ready to get started with my senior year of college. I technically only lack three classes before I will have my B.S. in Chemistry, but two of those courses are not offered until the spring and I will  have to wait to take them. In order to satisfy the requirements to keep my scholarship I’m also going to have to end up taking several classes that have nothing to do with my major or minor.

May 10th I will be leaving for Scotland, and I’m currently making the push to get everything that I will need for my almost two week trip out of the country. I have all of my currency exchanged and all I need are a few things before I leave. Excited doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about this trip. It doesn’t even feel real to be honest, and I can’t wait to see all the sights and make so many memories.

I’ve also continued my search of graduate schools, and I think I have some sort of direction now. I’ve looked at UofA, ASU, and the University of Tulsa. I’m finding more and more that my interests in chemistry seem to gravitate towards green chemistry. This would include finding ways to make chemical processes more “green”, as well as the development of alternate energy sources or more sustainable materials. There are still many branches of chemistry that I have not explored, but I feel like this is something that I can become passionate about and hopefully make a difference in the world. I know God will guide me to where I need to be, and I’m seeing His hand in more parts of my life everyday. I will continue to trust in Him and seek His guidance in the coming months.

A small side note,… My future roommate declared that he would not be staying on campus next semester and we have both missed room selection. That means there’s no turning back now! We are both excited to get an apartment, and we have found one that we really like. It’s now just a matter of saving our money and making the preparations to hopefully move in early August.

This has to be the biggest set of transitions in my life. I’m nervous, but beyond excited at the same time.

 

-Chandler

The Future Isn’t so Far Away

This week I filled out my Intent to Graduate form. That within itself is worth writing about simply for the fact that I was so surprised by it. It really just doesn’t seem like I have been in college this long, but this time next May I will be preparing myself to receive a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry with a minor in music. College is one of those things that can simultaneously make you feel like you’ve been there for both a few months and a few dozen years. Naturally, I’m now starting to get the anxiousness that comes with preparing to graduate college.

This morning I met with my professor and we talked about what classes I was going to be taking, what I needed to do to prepare for graduate school, how to take the GRE, and so on. It all seems pretty surreal and I’m so glad that I made the decision to go to Lyon three years ago. The impact this college has had on my life has been monumental.

Work has been going really well here at Future Fuel. There hasn’t really been anything exciting happen here lately, but the work I’ve been doing has taught me a lot of things about the chemical industry as well as time management. I believe I might be getting to stay here during the summer and work which will be very cool. Although I don’t know where that position will be, I don’t think I have too much to worry about at a place like this.

My Scotland trip is also rapidly approaching and the more we talk about it in class, the more excited I get. As of right now we have all of our tickets bought and we have been going over the logistics of the trip. Probably one of the things that I’m most excited about is seeing all the cities and small towns. It doesn’t take very much to impress me so getting to see all of the scenery and old buildings, as well as meeting so many new people, will itself make the trip worth it.

As far as I know we will leave out of Memphis around May 10th and we will fly to Newark, New Jersey where we will then get on a plane and go straight to Edinburgh, Scotland. I have already promised myself that I would try some new foods no matter how gross or scary they may seem.

-Chandler

Is It Over Yet?

The last week has been very crazy for me. While I’m currently writing this on my spring break, I still have massive amounts of homework to do. Last week was midterm week for me, and it was the craziest, busiest, most tiring midterm week I’ve ever had. While some of the work itself wasn’t that hard, it still absorbed almost all of my time. I actually had to ask off work just so I could get everything done!

I still have homework and studying to do for the coming weeks, and I just hope to endure and keep working as hard as possible. I am currently taking 17 credit hours this semester and working on all the days that I don’t have a lab. Trying to balance work, which I still thoroughly enjoy, and school, and retain any type of personal life, has certainly been a challenge. However, I know that through all of this I will hopefully sharpen my time management skills as well as my work ethic.

I still really enjoy my job and I’ve been working hard on several projects. Most of the work I’ve been doing has been compiling databases and assisting people in making sure that we comply with all the regulations put in place. It has been very cool to see another side of chemistry and not just the lab part. I really think that this will help me a lot in my career because a lot of people in the lab have told me that chemist don’t usually learn about these kind of things. If I already have a knowledge of regulations and safety when going into a chemistry career, it could give me somewhat of a leg up on other chemists. I am very grateful to be here and have this job.

I am going to try and see if I can stay on here this summer and maybe save up to get an apartment. There is a lot going on and I’m trying to make changes in my life regarding managing both my money and my time. It’s going to require every bit of strength God will give me, because I certainly can’t do it without His help. My education, finances, and job are all a blessing and I hope to become a good steward of all that God has given me.

-Chandler

Progress

This week has been a busy one for both work and school. Life is becoming increasingly busy for me as we get closer and closer to midterms. I’m certainly not complaining, because I enjoy every second of it, but my sleep has definitely taken a hit the last few weeks.

At work I have been working on somewhat of the  beta version of a new database. This new database is for all of our finished products and raw materials that we have on the plant site. Through this database we can type in the ID number, or name, of any substance and see all of it’s GHS classifications that have been pulled from their SDS’s. Now as you may have guessed, this means that I had to pull up and read the SDS’s for a few hundred chemicals and enter the information one by one. This took me quite sometime, but I finally finished this week! Next we will be exploring the next phase for this database and see where we need to take it from here.

This week has also had me pretty busy in other areas of my life. Not only were there two gospel concerts I had to play at, I also had an absurd amount of homework and pulled an all nighter trying to get it done. This Thursday was also “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” which I helped coordinate as the Lyon college Campus Representative for the End It movement. The End It Movement helps bring awareness to the 20-45.8 million people that are still enslaved all around the world including the U.S. I helped by chalking information onto the library windows, organizing a prayer vigil, putting up fliers, and also standing at the cafeteria to put red X’s on peoples hands and tell them about the movement. The red X is the signature mark of this movement, and it definitely catches people’s eyes, which presents you with an opportunity to bring awareness to what’s going on in our world.

I also started working out this week at the company gym. As an employee I have full access to the facility and I can come and go as I please! I usually go after work in the evenings and I thoroughly enjoy running. This is my first time getting into the gym since I started college, and it has worn me out. Admittedly I’m not in the best shape, but I’m getting addicted to working out.

Overall though I’ve been very happy and excited to be working. The money I’m making is going to help me go to Scotland this summer and also possibly help pay for an apartment this fall! I’m very excited for all that’s going on and I can’t wait to see how God is going to guide me.

 

-Chandler

Settling In

This week was really my first week of working on real projects. While it remained mostly uneventful, I did spend a lot of time settling in and becoming more familiar with some of computer systems. We also talked a lot about confidentiality, which is why there may be several projects that I’m not allowed to talk about until they are released to the public.

This post is intended to be short since not much happened at work this week. I’m definitely learning some multitasking skills and some better time management, and that has been very helpful in my college life.

I recently found out that our cafeteria is run by the Lunch Box from Oil Trough, Arkansas! This may not seem like a very big deal, but the Lunch Box is run by the mother of a long time friend of mine. If I remember correctly she is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met, so I definitely plan on paying her a visit sometime this week.

Everyone at the plant continues to be very welcoming to me which is pretty great. When I get to work I generally tend to go straight to my office and start working. However, this is generally when everyone is in the break room eating lunch, so perhaps I might start getting to know my co-workers soon.

Hopefully I will be able to talk about some cool things going on soon!

-Chandler

New Kid on the Block

I started this week at Future Fuel in the Health and Safety department. With one week of work down I can happily say that everything is going wonderfully! My first day at Future Fuel started on Wednesday when I got out of Biochemistry. Although I was quite nervous as I pulled into the employee parking lot, all my fear went away the minute I got my plant ID. It sort of hit me all at once that I was about to start my first real job, at a real company, with real chemistry. It’s still not quite set in…

As if that wasn’t enough, while I was getting toured around the plant, I was shown “my office.” Sure, it’s just a section of a small room I share with another employee, but to me it’s so much more than that. It may be a small thing, but to me it represents a physical manifestation of the work I’ve put into college this far. I never would have dreamed that I would have an office of my own, but now it’s actual reality.

If you’re not completely aware of it at this point, everything on that first day was making me giddy. Even the stapler they gave me was exciting. There was one thing though that I will shamelessly say made me geek out hardcore, and that was the lab tour. Although I probably won’t be working in the lab for a long time, if ever, I was allowed to tour the analytical and research labs. The only way that I can describe that experience is that it was like Christmas morning if all you asked for was laboratory instruments. I honestly don’t geek out about a lot of things, and I didn’t think I would about the lab, but it was such an amazing experience. Auto-titrators were the main thing that caught my eye given the number of titrations I’ve had to do here at Lyon. One of the chemists even told me that they don’t have to standardize a single thing… If you’re a chemist then you understand the gravity of that statement for an undergraduate student.

Some of the initial work I’m doing involves working on a sort of database for substances used at the plant. This database is just kind of testing an idea, but it will allow us to quickly search for a substance and see its hazard classifications. It’s a lot of data entry, but reading about some of the chemicals has been pretty cool, so I’m enjoying it.

Very excited to start again next week and see where the semester takes me! Everyone at the plant has been very welcoming and kind and that has made all the difference.

-Chandler

New Job, New Adventures, New Year

“…He will put me exactly where I need to be.”

Without a doubt, 2016 was a crazy year for all of us. Students, parents, teachers, men, women, and everyone else for that matter, all probably ran into some sort of issue or trial that made last year a tough time. It was the year of Trump, Harambe, scorching temperatures, protests, and a lot of crazy events that had effects on all of us. That being said, a lot of people, myself included, entered into this new year slightly apprehensive about taking steps in any direction. We all want to know that the paths we are choosing to take are the right ones, and we all wish we could see ahead to what’s coming. Although I am pretty nervous about everything that is coming up in my life and where I am going, being a man of faith, I know I can trust that everything is happening the way it is for a reason. I also know that if I follow Christ through this life, even though there will be ups and downs, He will put me exactly where I need to be.

All that being said, this year is going to be filled with a lot of new things! I recently got an internship at Future Fuel, and although I’m not entirely sure of what this job will entail, it is very exciting. These kinds of experiences are crucial to helping me determine what I want to do with my degree, making connections, and learning new things. I start next week and I’m currently getting things worked out with the company so that I can be ready to jump right in. In order to get college credit I have to post about it; so there will definitely be more to come on this new job in the coming weeks.

This year I will also be traveling outside of the country for my first time with the college! I’ll be going to Scotland in May and staying for two weeks, do I really need to say more?

All in all I’m very excited about everything that is happening even if it does cause me a bit of anxiousness. Hopefully this blog will help everyone who is interested keep up with me and my experiences. Here’s to new year!

-Chandler