Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stayin Alive- Week 5, making mistakes but feeling good about them

So…. This week was fun. My duties have been steadily ramping up all this week as we get closer to our big forum. I’ve also been doing a lot of learning (primarily through experience), and am finally getting settled into office life, though not without some hilarious mistakes. These have included things like an iron being dropped on my phone, and forgetting what it truly means to write a professional report. Also, just learning how to work in an office is a real challenge. It isn’t like advocacy work where it’s all about fire and planning, and there’s a palpable fire in the room, and it’s not like handling general office work (filing cabinets, answering phones, record keeping). It’s all about developing myself as a professional, and fitting into an office dynamic while contributing where I can. It is an interesting challenge, and one that I’ve been wracking my brain about. I know I’ve done some silly things, but this is my first couple of weeks at an internship, and although that doesn’t make an excuse for mistakes, it makes me feel as though I can learn and move forward. Thankfully, my supervisors did me a great service by connecting me with experienced mentors and a team that understands how to incorporate new people. Honestly, I chafed at the advice given to me by one of my good friends before coming out here when he told me, “ This internship is all about learning,” but now I’m beginning to see what he meant. I thought the number one objective was resume building. I thought I had all the experience and skill needed to do work at the next level, but now that I’m here, I’m seeing how mistaken I was. Thankfully, my office is cool enough to provide many teachable moment. Aside from my work on the forum (which I’ve had to develop fax requests for), I’m also working on our youth outreach initiative, In the Driver’s Seat, which is a transition toolkit for youth with disabilities making the transition from high school to work, college or internships, or work experiences. We plan to collect youth feedback and stories on the ways transitions worked for us. We’re really looking for stories on how people transition into various experiences, what strategies worked for them, how they navigated different systems, and what supports made it possible for you to succeed. Keep your eyes out for an email from me, guys! I’m also working on some other surprises too! On a more comical note, the metro hated me this week. First, the Foggy Bottom elevator broke in the morning, and then left me stranded on my way home for an hour or so. The next day, my train was prevented from moving by a serial door opener, causing me to be late for work. On the way home, my whole track broke, so I was stranded for close to an hour. Ah well, Metro happens.

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