Saturday, June 18, 2011

A slightly more philosophical Week, #4

These first few weeks have been solid as an intern, just very busy. I have a really cool placement, which gives me some pretty substantive assignments, and allows me to learn from many others, who all indulge my sometimes rapidfire questions, and perfectionist tendencies. I really need to slow down, these days, I’m trying to learn it all on the fly, when I don’t need to. One of my misconceptions, I think, was that I would find someone in the disability community, who knew “everything I needed to know.” I’ve met many great advocates in my life, and quite a few of them recently, but as my colleague and workplace guru Patrick Cokley often reminds me, kindly: “No one knows everything, and that’s okay.” I think I made a reprehensible mistake in my career thus far, I tried latching on to abstract goals, and pinning my hopes on people who were knowledgeable (Victor, Naomi, Paul, Micah, and many others come to mind) and had the same interests as I did (the challenges facing young people with disabilities as we entered into a new age of information, freedom and possibility, and disability as a part of minority identity ), I forgot that all they wanted to see was my successes and my future plans, and watch me grow into an adult they could be proud of; and someone who would make a difference in the lives others (and they still do, mind you, I still talk to them regularly). I know I’ve met many great people in my life and done some cool things (including being here in DC, thanks to the AAPD internship program), Truthfully though, I don’t think I have ever asked myself what I wanted to do next; where I saw myself in the future. I never really explored my interests until this past year ,most of my accomplishments and decisions have been made in the heat of the moment, without any deep thinking.t I really need to take what I learn and develop my own style. I need to reevaluate my plan, and channel my passion differently. Ever since I was a kid in Wisconsin, I had this mindset that I needed to go all-out at one thing, and for me that was academics for a long time. I had to be the best, and no one could even come close to me, or I failed. That mindset carried over into my acting career and advocacy as well, I had to be the most helpful, the most prepared, and make the most of everything. Not that it hasn’t served me well, mind you, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, but I don’t think I ever understood what I wanted from all of these things, and it ate at me personally and professionally, holding me back. I never let myself make mistakes and move on, but I think that’s starting to change, as my colleagues continue to ask me, “What’s next?” “What do you see for yourself in future,” and also remind me to take it easy, and reevaluate myself. Sorry for the philosophical tone of this week’s post, and I did have some comical meetings, including meeting an ex Berkeley Career center worker running from the rain, missing my train three times this week.

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