Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meridi Myers: Summer work

Meridi Myers, Author of Titus and Atreus

Adventures of an Impoverished High School Graduate

There are a lot of good things about going away to college for the first time. There’s the freedom of being on your own and (finally!) being away from your parents; there’s the fun of meeting a whole host of brand new people; and of course the excitement of (hopefully) studying something that interests you. There’s one thing, however, that is not so good:

Paying for all of the freedom, fun, and excitement that is the college experience.

Okay. So it wasn’t really that bad for me; my loans and scholarships covered most of the major stuff. But I was faced with living expenses. I needed to furnish my dorm room; I needed ridiculously expensive textbooks; and most importantly, I needed to eat. (My college allotted us a certain number of meals each week, but I knew it wouldn’t be nearly enough for me. I have the metabolism of a hummingbird, and get very cranky when my blood sugar levels drop.)

That meant that to cover these new living expenses, I would need to find a summer job after graduating high school. Unfortunately, most places are not looking to hire a seventeen-year-old for two months out of the year. I spent weeks applying for jobs and was about to concede that my dorm room would consist solely of a bare mattress, when a friend of mine discovered a place that was not only hiring, but was hiring just for the summer. Whoa! Sounds perfect, right? I thought so too.

I got the job at the Girl Scout camp. I’m not sure what the requirements were, or if there really were any at all, but I passed the test. I was thrilled to have a place to work for the summer, and even more thrilled that I’d be working alongside two of my high school friends, who’d also applied and been accepted. I’d spend the next couple of weeks making funky lanyards and bottle cap belts, and by the end of it, I’d have a good chunk of change to spend as I pleased. It was going to be a piece of cake! I already knew how to take care of kids (I have a much younger brother whom I babysat all the time), I liked being outside, and I sort of enjoyed being crafty. I had all the makings of world-class camp counselor.

Needless to say, my illusion of the job being a cakewalk was soon shattered. Allow me to condense my experience into two lists: The Good—or, the perks of being a camp counselor—and The Bad—or, reasons why I will never ever be a camp counselor again.

The Good:

1) Free, all-you-can-eat Girl Scout cookies. (Okay, this might count for two points. . . . Maybe.)

2) Having an income for two months.

The Bad:

WARNING: The following list has not been exaggerated in any way. Proceed with caution.

1) Never receiving the “required” week-long training to become a camp counselor, since you applied after training ended.

2) Forgetting what “air conditioning” even means.

3) Relocating 20 seven-year-old girls to a new lodge at midnight because there is a bat—that may or may not have rabies—flying around your current shelter.

4) Waking up to find your sleeping bag covered in ice crystals because the temperature inexplicably plummeted overnight.

5) Having to start a fire in a thunderstorm in order to make dinner for yourself and your troop. (I’m absolutely not kidding about this. It really happened. And yes, by some stroke of luck, I did get that fire going, damn it!)

6) Carrying a four-year-old up a steep half-mile long hill because she’s too young to be at camp and can’t walk it herself. (Seriously, parents, what are you thinking?)

7) Asking one of your girls to please wear her bug repellent before she goes hiking, and having her respond by going into a completely unwarranted meltdown.

8) Having to teach six girls how to row a boat when you yourself have had no prior rowing experience.

9) One word: outhouses.

10) Rarely seeing either one of your high school friends because they were never given the same schedule as you were.

11) Trying to comfort crying, homesick scouts (that are not even yours) before they wake the rest of the tent up and start a chain reaction that you know you will not be able to control.

12) Being woken in the middle of the night because one of your girls is getting sick and needs her medication ASAP. (But, of course, you’re not allowed to carry her medication on your person, which would be the smartest and most convenient thing to do; no, it must be left at the hospital tent, which is, of course, on the other side of camp.)

13) The unidentified, but definitely large and dangerous, creatures watching you from the woods, waiting to spring as soon as you leave the tent at 4AM to pee. (Don’t laugh! That camp was creepy after sundown.)

The Bad list could go on.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much about my experience, though; after all, I accomplished what I originally set out to do: get a job and make a little money. I weathered through the seven weeks of hell—I mean, camp—and when August finally came around and I was on my way to college, I had my textbooks, extra money on my meal card, and enough d├ęcor to furnish half the rooms on my floor. And I had a nice tan. ;)

Congrats, Diana, and best of luck with all your post-high school adventures!


Read my review of Titus and Atreus here! A great fantasy novel I definitely recommend!

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Sounds like a fun time at camp!

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deltay said...

Sounds like quite the adventurous summer ;) I've never been a camp counselor or anything, so no experience on that front.

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