January 16, 2012

How to Survive Winter Break

Okay, Winter Break. You win. I’m ready to go back to college.

Keep in mind, five weeks ago I did not think this. After braving the abnormality known as an undergraduate’s sleep schedule during finals week, I was excited for home. I’m sure others felt the same, but personally, I was eager for my bed: full size – resting only two feet above the floor, cupping the 1972 Cadillac Coup Deville of mattresses. That’s comfort.

My holidays were shared with family and friends at my house. On Christmas Eve, we celebrated La Vigilia di Natale with a feast of seven fish, one for each of the Catholic Sacraments. On Christmas, ham was the focal food. And for the New Year, old friends gathered in the Bisciotti household basement and we ordered from Pinocchio’s Pizzeria.

Mike Shank will replace my strings, sound post, and bridge and make my double bass sound fantastic!

There’s nothing out of the ordinary above, and that was a theme that parallels the rest of break. I said I wanted a good night’s sleep. But when there’s six weeks of unoccupied time to fill at home, I also want something to do.

In the short run, the dismal nature of this situation was made worse. I packed my double bass and set course for Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania and Shank’s Strings. My luthier, Mike Shank, will be performing surgery on an object that consumes this period of limbo most productively. However, because the CaPA fellowship will be funding this $1200 endeavor, I don’t mind finding something else to do. I have a few ideas on how to survive winter break.

Idea #1: Apply for Summer Internships

Why should someone repeat something he doesn’t like, especially when he can prevent it? I’m referring to the lack of activity during winter break. I worked at Lafayette almost all of last summer as a tour guide. Alone, having a full-time position is great, and it’s even better when the work is enjoyable and the downtime is spent indoors with classmates and all the free coffee I care to drink. But I will do something better if I can, and an internship would be that something.

A great show

My first stop was the Career Vault. One can find the link located on the Career Services website. Here I utilized the search system for engineering internships in the Philadelphia area, but discovered something else first. It was a group called LeadAmerica, and they hold academic conferences for high school students to which undergrads can apply for positions. I applied to the Engineering & Robotics conference for a team leader position. Before I left for college, I had the pleasure of teaching three middle school-age students double bass, so this job seems right.  If chosen I could spend ten weeks assisting students at University of California at Berkeley or Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Others to which I applied include the Navy and Boeing, and I’ll continue the search until classes begin.

Idea #2: Watch a good TV series

Mine was Breaking Bad. The story is interesting: an overqualified high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with stage three cancer, and in order to leave a legacy for his family he reconnects with a former no-good student of his to cook and sell crystal meth. If you haven’t seen it, then it might seem crazy. Well, it is. But the acting is excellent and the plot is great. What’s more, the writers sometimes allude to Walt Whitman, and that romantic’s poetry is fine by me. Season four had me hooked, and I watched all ten hours of it over the course of two days. Why not?


So, right now I’m in Connecticut for a three-day externship with Tier ONE, LLC. I’m excited for the experience, and will write about it soon. Until then!

posted in John Paul Bisciotti


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