Day in the Life with Rachel West (January)

January 7, 2021 |
Contributed by Rachel West, IBH Level IV

Have you learned anything about yourself or the world this semester?

This semester, I worked at PepsiCo Foods, Canada, as a Consumer Insights and Analytics Intern. PepsiCo’s marketing department works to empower their employees by helping them embrace their inner Ninja. Ninjas are anyone who excels in a particular skill or activity, known as their “Ninja Power,” and leverages it for the good of the team. Everyone in the department is encouraged to identify their “Ninja Power” and determine how they can harness this unique strength to contribute to the broader team purpose.

At the end of the year, we had a workshop where everyone shared their “Ninja Power,” but I was initially having trouble figuring out what mine was. After speaking with a few colleagues, I discovered that my last four months working on a large and often complex strategy-based project revealed my “Ninja Power.” I realized that I could grasp complex concepts and then translate them into actionable and straightforward steps and understandably communicate them for everyone. It was really exciting to discover this skill of “translation,” and I hope I can continue to use it to support my team around me.

What were some of the greatest challenges/roadblocks you faced this semester and how did you overcome them?

Throughout the semester, I found that, at times, my daily routine became somewhat monotonous due to COVID-19 restrictions and working from home. As a result, the days felt shorter. I often felt that my weeks passed by in a blur with nothing to differentiate one day from another.

I decided to find something to get excited about each day, to make it stand out from the rest. I took the activities that I found myself doing every day and added a twist to them. I explored new techniques with my watercolour paintings, reached out to old friends to catch up, and experimented with new ways of exercising. They weren’t significant changes, but they were enough to make each day feel unique and special.

Were there any self-revelations you experienced this semester?

Over the past few months, my revelations have revolved around self-growth. Since I’d been spending most of my time at home by myself, I sometimes found myself endlessly scrolling through social media. I would see the successes and exciting lives that others had and noticed how much I was comparing my life to others.

So, at the beginning of September, I deleted the social media apps on my phone. I wanted to see what life was like when I didn’t compare anyone else’s life to mine. Over time, it gave me the freedom to let my life happen at my own pace and timeline. I stopped thinking that I needed to “catch up” to anyone or do something just because other people were. I don’t think I’ll stay off social media forever, but it has been nice to focus on myself and my goals for the time being.

How much do you feel you’ve grown since starting at DeGroote?

Since I started at DeGroote three and a half years ago, I’ve grown a lot through the experiences and relationships I’ve developed with the people around me. I felt privileged to be among peers from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. Seeing my peers grow throughout these past few years has made me reflect on how much I’ve grown as an individual. It made me realize that the most significant changes I’ve seen in myself happened through experiences with others.

Once I started working, I found that the ability to accomplish things at work hinged mainly upon my ability to cultivate relationships and support a team. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to learn the importance of this at DeGroote because I feel it has helped me in my internship.

What have you been grateful for during these times?

I know this may be a standard answer, but I’m most grateful for my parents. Ever since the university suspended in-person classes in March, my parents have been nothing but supportive, kind, and encouraging. It had been over two years since I last lived with my parents, yet they still welcomed me back home with open arms. They made sure I felt at home again by transforming the guest bedroom into an office for me and shifting their routines to accommodate my work schedule. Being back at home wasn’t what I expected to do this year, but it gave me the gift of more time with my parents, and I’m grateful for that.

Is there any show or hobby that has helped you through this semester?

I had loved watching Grey’s Anatomy in high school, but I haven’t watched any of the new seasons. Brooke, a friend and classmate, had started watching the previous seasons. To connect with her and give us something to talk about, I started re-watching it with her. So, for the past two months, we’ve been watching it together. It’s been comforting to re-watch old episodes and eventually dive into new seasons. When life can feel mundane sometimes, I love immersing myself in authentic storylines full of exciting and unexpected events!

Rachel West

McMaster University Integrated Business and Humanities Level IV
DeGroote School of Business

Rachel is an Integrated Business and Humanities Student at the DeGroote School of Business currently completing a year long sales and marketing internship at PepsiCo Foods Canada. Throughout her time at DeGroote, Rachel has been highly involved in the DeGroote Commerce Society, JDCC, and Canada’s Next Top-Ad Exec. In her free time she loves to cook, paint, workout, and spend time with her friends and family.

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