As my term of service draws to a close, I’ve thought more about how it started and what has happened between now and last August. It amazes me that one year has gone by so fast and another one will start. Here is an excerpt from my end-of-year evaluation I completed today:
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE GROWN PROFESSIONALLY OR PERSONALLY THIS YEAR?
Looking back, I realize just how enormous the amount of growth I have achieved this year has been – both professionally and personally. I’ve learned a lot about working as part of a team, working in a system, being an effective communicator, self and organization/company presentation, and much, much more. My levels of thinking and analysis have really been developed and my writing skills have improved quite a bit. Looking back on projects that I worked on at the beginning of the year and projects that I worked on recently, I can see the difference in the quality of work.
This year has also put me in situations that I would have normally avoided and they have taught me things about myself that I would have never found out otherwise. For example, as someone who likes to have some sense of structure and order in her life, this year has shown me that I can handle stress and the unknown/ambiguity fairly well. I’ve also confirmed and learned many new things about myself like how I work best and that education and equal access are areas I will continue to be passionate about.
Additionally on a personal level, this year has also helped me with ownership of my own work and making it something that was my own. With this role, and any AmeriCorps role here, it has been up to the individual to define what their role is.
The biggest thing for me in terms of professional growth would have to be developing confidence and credibility and being able to present myself in a more professional manner. While I have always been confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish, it never really showed through to others. I always felt like a kid while I viewed everyone else around me as mature and grown up. This probably had to do a lot with the fact that I was always looking up to others growing up whether that was to my mentors or friends. This year has allowed me to be more on the giving end and help support others. I was someone that others consulted and that has helped build my confidence and sense of credibility in myself.
It was rewarding to be a Corps member in the National Office because I got a chance to not only meet each of our newly hired Leadership Team staff when they came on board but also hear them share about themselves and their experiences. Aside from learning more about each of them, another thing I took away was the manner in which they each presented themselves and talked about their accomplishments and skills. I learned a lot from each of them and from all of the LT here about self-presentation and will apply and practice them whenever I’m talking with someone whether that be interviewing for another job or for graduate school.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED THIS YEAR?
One thing I’ve learned from this year that will be extremely helpful moving forward is dealing with bad news and what to do when things don’t go as expected. I’ve never been comfortable discussing unpleasant things and especially with the parties involved. This year, the Consortium has thrown me a lot of curve balls and a lot of unexpected situations arose which is nothing to be excited about but that has helped me develop some techniques and ways to go about addressing uncomfortable situations and difficult topics.
“Achievement is not always success, while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances.” – Orison Swett Marden