September 30, 2015

Writing the internship activity report

If everything goes well I will graduate by the end of this school year. About time, because I already have some study delay. Although I still find it hard to think of what I would like to do career-wise, getting a bachelor degree would already be a weight off my shoulders. All my efforts are therefore now on school by mainly doing my internship and further doing a group project about writing an import plan. Additionally exams are coming up, one more month left to prepare for them.

 Yesterday was the deadline for handing in the first activity report about the internship. It needs to be uploaded to OnStage every 4 weeks and describes the main tasks or activities you have been doing in the past month. Thereafter you need to describe the results in relation to the previously set goals and reflect on them.  

I have mainly described my work in the several departments. However, the actual idea of the internship is to cooperate in one department and to have a separate, individual research task besides it. In the beginning, it is important to make clear with your company coach what he can expect from you, and what you aim to do in the company. I have noticed it was still not fully clear to him what I (my school) expected from the internship since I had to spend most of my time doing individual research. However after several hours of sitting behind your desk, it becomes quite difficult to remain concentrated or to even sit still. Moreover, when reading in the documents describing the deliverables for the internship you can already forecast problems because in the end you need to describe your department and tasks in full detail.

Until now I have regularly met with my company coach to discuss the progress, and have now also expressed this concern about the ‘cooperation in the department’ part. Guess it will be fine in the end. All good as long as the HvA will be satisfied and my internship company will be pleased with my contribution so I can earn my credits. Anyway, I have already learned a lot from working in the company. It is good to see that terms treated  in previous courses come back as well as for example seeing transport documents in real, after having learned about them in theory.

Starting my internship

A few weeks ago I started my internship at Boon Edam, a company that is the world market leader in revolving doors but also has other products in the access and security market. I’ve had a few (relatively simple) jobs before but an internship or office function was something quite new. When starting, I immediately got introduced to a lot of people, way too many names and functions to remember, but nevertheless a good start to be welcomed in a friendly atmosphere.  

I like that the company is a family business. This summer I joined a gym, first starting off with orienting to which one I wanted to go, I walked into a few of them to get a feeling. One would almost reluctantly show you around and give you a leaflet with prices, at another big sport center they would just leave you to ‘have a look’ without saying any further word to you so you’re just basically standing there looking at intimidating overly-muscled guys. I then ended up at a family-owned sport center where you immediately felt welcomed: got a little tour, offered a cup of tea and sitting with you to ask about your goals etc, from then on personally greeting you with your name. Really a world of difference. At Boon Edam too, you immediately get a feeling of being welcome and people are willing to patiently explain whatever there is you want to know.  

One Monday it was planned I could spend the day in the factory to see the process of how they manufacture revolving doors. The factory workers start at 7:15, so I’m lucky to live close by. I was put with a young man at one of the sawing machines. These machines have two saws that cut simultaneously, so they are able to saw aluminum profiles accurately to the millimeter. The finished profiles together with aluminum plates are put together on a cart and when complete it was send to the next department together with myself.  

After sawing, I could now help at the punchline machine, which makes holes in/shapes the ends of the aluminum profiles. I continued down the process line just like the products did and found it really interesting. Besides sawing and making holes I also got to work with some screwdrivers, drills, and I could put together a frame for the glass panel. Finishing the day by applying the Boon Edam logo on the glass door (bit of a proud moment).

It may not have had much to do with my study, but working in the factory was certainly fun and instructive. Also making my internship research assignment and work easier when able to relate it to the gained experiences.


September 22, 2015

Letter of the Year

 by Margot Gran

My nephew Yarden was four when he died. His sister Naomi was a year and a half old and his brother Yoav was born two years later. It was between the Jewish New Year and the day of Atonement, like now. Now Michael is with us. My sister Audrey says Michael reminds her of Yarden in some ways - In his coloring, his alertness, his maturity. There is a resemblance. Yaara sees it too. A week ago we let Michael taste olives that Uncle Sagi made. Bitter olives that grownups eat. He liked them. Yarden liked olives too, as do Naomi and Yoav.

Recently Audrey shared that nowadays she imagines what Yarden would look like if he were still alive today, at twenty-one, like her college students and like Mikey, the son of her best friend who died a while back. She feels Yarden is with her all the time. I, on the other hand, can't imagine him older.

For me he remains little; four years old. I remember the things we used to do together in the hospital and between treatments. I remember the night before we discovered he was so ill. I remember the seven toy dwarfs that he loved so much, that stood on the living room table when I came over to say goodbye. I told him I loved him and that we were all with him, including his seven dwarfs and that we'd love him forever. It was awful. I couldn't find words to sum up the meaningful relationship that we had. It was the most painful goodbye I ever went through – a painful goodbye for many of us.

All these years I have felt admiration for my sister. She survived. She flourished. She is alive and loving and a wonderful sister, woman and mother. Now that I am a mother I admire her all the more. She has a huge smile and a giant heart. She is a mother who knows how to let go, to love, be giving and respectful. In my eyes, my sister is an example of an outstanding person. My appreciation of her is heightened now, when after all these years, I have been given the opportunity to experience the joys and anxieties of parenthood. Sometimes I imagine myself in her shoes and know I could easily lose my mind after such a loss…and I actually did for a few years after that loss.

Since Michael was born, I admit I have a lingering sense of dread, anxiety that comes and goes and sometimes a sense of sheer terror that all this that is good will be wiped away in a moment. This is why I grasp onto life so tightly. I cherish all that is mine. I've learnt to be happy, to love, to praise, to open my heart the best I can. Yarden's life and saying goodbye to him led me to work in the field of therapy for over ten years, spending time with young children and their parents. There was something in it that helped heal me, something joyous and meaningful.

Most mothers experience fear, anxiety and a need to protect their young at different times in their lives. It is natural. With me it is entwined with memories. Memories of that night when my sister called to tell me I should come over to say goodbye to Yarden. The following morning when I got her phone call telling me he had died in her and his Dad's arms, in the bed in their living room. That morning when I went over he was in his own bed and I didn't go see him. I picked baby Naomi up and carried her to the little park downstairs, so she wouldn't be there to see her big brother being taken away by an ambulance forever.

Aunt Pnina was right when just after Michael was born she suggested we get a big jar for all our guilt feelings. She said we should put a shekel in the jar every time we felt guilty. With these coins Michael will be able to go to a good therapist when he needs one,  is what she said. A coin for every time I lose my patience, for the times I don't understand his difficulty, for moments when in my helplessness I trusted mostly him, Yaara and a power greater than me to save him, when it looked like he was choking on a piece of a leaf in the park and in the moments during his birth when his pulse disappeared.

Michael's life reawakened my feelings. They had been in a type of calm and quiet ever since I healed from losing Yarden. Now I am full. I thank every moment I have with our Michael. He is a strong, healthy, sturdy child. I thank Yaara who gave birth to him and gave me the privilege of being a parent beside her. I apologize in advance for all I have and will do wrong and imperfectly. Before The Day of Atonement I want to thank little Yarden, who showed me the power of laughter and living in the moment, while he dealt with pain and illness. I'll remember you always. Kisses. Aunt Margot
This letter was written by my amazing artist and writer sister, Margot Gran, who has always been there for me. Thank you Margot. Please forgive me too for all I have done and will do and all I mean to do, but hardly ever get around to doing... (like calling!) Love you ! 

September 14, 2015

The big clean up - Marie Kondo style

Stage 1: gathering - Please don't judge me. I feel ashamed enough. I have just spent about 3 hours going around the three floors of my house and collecting every piece of clothing I own, including coats and shoes. 

Stage 2: sorting and discarding

According to Kundo, next I have to sort thru all this - starting with my tops. 

I don't know why this is so difficult for me, but it is. My heart is pounding and I feel anxious and scared. What of? Change?

Experts in change management - including Harriet Lerner- say that even a good change is something hard to handle. 

I take a deep breath, a sip of tea, and start to find all my tops so I can then hold each one and ask the ultimate question: 

"Does this bring me joy?"

September 7, 2015


Dear Students, especially 1st and 2nd year,

I am tired and grumpy, and my family has no idea why. It's quite simple. I have been answering emails from you most of the day. And with the exception of one or two, most of them were very simple questions that could have been very easily answered if only you had taken the tiniest bit of initiative and RTFM. (Read the Manual).

And by manual I mean - go to the DLWO. It's not rocket science. Even I can figure it out, and I grew up without a smart phone.

You are not in high school anymore. You are at university. At university, we expect you to think for yourselves. I know this can be hard. And challenging. And you don't feel like it. Why not just email me?


I explained it at the Introduction day. 
  • Go to the DLWO, sign in, and Follow the courses you are taking.
  • When in doubt, click on that course and read all the material available to you.
  • Go to the subsection of your specific class for even more information.
  • When still confused, ask a classmate. Don't have their emails? Yes, you do, check the emails I have sent you. Your classmates are all there.
  • Still confused? Take a wild guess, and a risk. Maybe you'll get it right.
That's it. I'm not answering any more questions that are more than obvious from doing some reading or asking someone who knows.

Thank you for leaving me in peace,
Your slightly irritated teacher.