a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

The Mill

< by Nate >

Some internships help you get ahead in the world, and allow you to make connections.

And some allow you to go back to college.

From 2006-2008, I spent the final three summers of my college career running up and down a 30-foot calendar stack in a paper mill. Under the label of a “summer intern,” I was the “back tender” of the super calendar, a machine that compresses and puts the finish on large rolls of paper through the use of heat and pressure.

There is something about moving around a 30-foot piece of machinery that helps you appreciate the finer things in life. The same can be said for the scalding heat and water on and around the stack, both of which were so hot they would burn your skin right off.

Ah yes, the joys of being a “summer intern.”

Now call me crazy, and many do, but I enjoyed it. Maybe not the 12-hour swing shift schedule, or the risk of being “de-sleeved” while manually feeding a broken roll of paper through the stack … but working so hard to achieve a dream many take for granted was truly rewarding.

My folks didn’t have the money to pay for UW-Madison, and student loans didn’t cover everything. That extra had to come from somewhere, and the paper mill was the answer.

Working in a paper mill was never my future. But it taught me responsibility, a hard work ethic, realizing that things aren’t always easy and, of course, SAFETY.

1 Comment»

  The RV Super Mart | a breakfast serial wrote @

[…] already written at length about my time in a De Pere paper mill. Other than that wonderful experience, I’ve only ever had two other summer […]


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