Decisions, Decisions

When I began to formulate a plan for how the summer after my junior year would look, I ruled out home and a newspaper internship early on. Though I felt the intense pressure of seeking after a summer internship, I decided to let it roll off my back. There were more important things, like my walk with God and earning a little extra money for the coming school year. These two priorities landed me first in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and then in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home of Dollywood theme park.

smoky mountain

Dolly Parton Land

The ensuing summer plan centered around something called Summer Training Program, which is a work-study-life program that is coordinated by the Navigators, a Christian ministry that I am a part of on campus. STP placed me smack dab in the middle...and a smidgen to the east, of Tennessee. Dolly Parton land. Pigeon Forge is a bustling tourist destination home to such things as: an indoor rodeo, America Superstore, and a copious amount of pancake houses. It was entertaining to look at, to say the least. But apart from people-watching, I spent a good majority of the summer growing closer to Christ through Bible study, workshops, scripture memory and my co-workers at Dollywood Splash Country.

"The Sweetest Place on Earth

Before all of this happened, though, I was working in another tourist town, Hershey, Pennsylvania, a.k.a. "The Sweetest Place on Earth." I wanted to earn a little extra cash for the coming school year, so I went home to Lebanon, Pennsylvania where my family lives. Just 30 minutes away, I work at The Hershey Story Museum, which is an exhibition of the town, the man and the chocolate. Inside of the museum is a "chocolate lab," where museum guests get to make their very own chocolate bar and learn fun facts about the origin of chocolate and how it's made. The lab coat-enrobed teacher who appears to know everything there is to know about chocolate? That was me. And yes, I did also wear a hairnet. I worked at this job for one month before going to Tennessee and had loads of fun...and free melted milk chocolate. Dolly Parton and chocolate. Who could ask for more?