Photo Essay: Day in the Life with Rachel West

September 9, 2020 |
Contributed by Rachel West, IBH Level IV

At-home office

Who supports you throughout your life and are actively engaged in your success? Tell us about them.

My parents are my biggest cheerleaders. In the past few years, they’ve supported me from afar because I lived in Hamilton for school, but since I moved home in the Spring, they’ve played a much more hands-on role. They both give the best advice and love to celebrate both the big and little wins in my life.

My friends that I met in the Integrated Business and Humanities (IBH) program are also a massive part of my support system. We went from classmates to housemates and best friends over the last three years. It has been so incredible to have people to take on life with throughout university. We are all constantly pushing each other to be better and encouraging one another to make the most of every moment. While most of our friendship has been virtual over the last 6 months, our late-night Facetime calls after a long day helps give me some sense of normalcy in this crazy world.

What skills are you gaining as an Integrated Business and Humanities student?

The IBH program has taught me valuable business-related accounting, finance, operations, and marketing skills, supporting me in my internship. I gained critical thinking and problem-solving skills from my classes. Our many class discussions have also led me to examine my perception of the world and my role. My program has taught me to continually question the status quo and imagine better ways of doing things. Through my program’s many group projects, I’ve also learned valuable lessons about working in teams, building relationships, and mastered my presentation skills.

What excites you about starting university this year?

This is the first time since I was four that I haven’t gone “back to school” in September. With a virtual internship, I am excited to start new traditions this fall and glimpse what life post-school could look like. I am also looking forward to virtually meeting the incoming first years in my program. The IBH community has been a huge part of my university experience. As upper years, I hope we can help the newest cohort foster a similar understanding for themselves. This summer, I was part of a group that brainstormed the idea for a pod-based IBH online community, and I’m excited to see what it becomes!

Outdoor meal

What does a typical day look like as an intern with PepsiCo?

Since May, I have been working from home as a Sales Analyst for PepsiCo Foods. I am excited to start my next role in the marketing department this fall as part of my rotational internship. Working from home has been a lot different than my experience working in the office last summer.

I tend to wake up at 7:45 a.m. and spend time getting ready before I walk across the hall to my “office.” I like start early to go through my inbox and respond to any new emails before the official workday starts at 9.

I find that I am most productive in the mornings, so I try to block off larger chunks of working time in my calendar. Today, I spent this time working on inputting vendor deal sheets into our systems.

I always try to get outside for a full hour at lunch. One of the best things about working from home is that I can sit out on the deck in the sunshine while I eat.

I spend the majority of my afternoons in Zoom calls with my team. It was hard getting to know people through video calls at first, but now it’s hard to believe I haven’t met most of them in person. My team has been really welcoming to me and I love working in such a collaborative environment.


After work, I usually try to squeeze in a quick workout before dinner because I’ve spent most of the day sitting. Getting my blood flowing helps me boost my energy for the evening ahead.

My Mom and I usually spend our evenings together bingeing Netflix shows, making Starbucks runs, playing in the backyard with our dog, and walking.


What does returning to university mean to you?

I am excited about completing an internship this year. I see this internship as an opportunity to put what I have learned in the classroom to the test. I also think this year will teach me a lot of valuable lessons that I can bring back to school next September. I’m excited to see what my classmates on the internship will learn over the next year.

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