How did *you* pass the days away? Student writer gives his take on the cheesy-but-classic ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’

[Editor’s note: Meet Jared Dye, a senior communication major from Moline, Ill., who works as a student writer in Western’s Office of University Relations. As one of his first assignments back on the job, Jared was asked to reflect on his summer experiences and share them on this blog.]

I had never seen 5 a.m. until this summer. And that was when my cell phone alarm went off just days after returning from school. What was I thinking taking a job in maintenance at a golf course? For whatever reasons, I did, and I would be starting my days at 6 a.m. or earlier for the summer.

I had a connection through my family to get the job working out TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. I had never done any work like this in my life, and thought working outside didn’t sound too bad. Eight to – days didn’t really intimidate too much, but I really had no idea what to expect. I quickly learned that things out there can be rough, intimidating, unpredictable and never-ending.

Every day started with a 6 a.m. meeting to go over what jobs we would be doing to start the long day. During my first week, you wouldn’t find me anywhere but in the bunkers picking weeds, raking, or doing whatever else had to be done for the part of the course that no one was trying to hit into. Those days were the worst, when you knew you were going to be in the bunkers. I’ve heard that the heat index is significantly higher when surrounded by sand, and I’m here to second that.

But, most of my mornings, there I was mowing the greens or tees. This was not your normal mowing, however; we had mowers designed just for mowing tees and greens. We were told what direction to cut, and what not to do. Next, we would check the board to see our next jobs; and even when all seemed to be done, we would be sent out to do something. We would work in the bunkers, fill divots, string trim around trees or the tall grass areas, trim sprinkler and irrigation heads or some other random job to keep us occupied. It was an everyday struggle, that’s for sure. Rainy days were hit-or-miss; we could be sent home early, but odds are we would either work through it or we would come back to the shop and wait it out. Imagine being soaking wet by 8 a.m. and having to stay out and work until 3:30 in the afternoon—not fun. I wouldn’t deny that towards the end of the summer there was an occasional drop in my productivity on tough days.

But I got through it. I was relieved and proud when I was finally done with my time there. And I made money and got to work at a nice golf course that hosted a PGA tournament. The best time of the whole summer was the week of the John Deere Classic.

Find out more about working the tourney, about the thing Jared “caught” this summer (and it wasn’t a fish or a cold!), and why he got teased about his taste in movies, in Jared’s next post.

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