Wow. Took me a month to write again. So here we go.
November was quite a revelation. The challenges thrown at me were at its peak and I felt that I did not have time to breathe, at least barely enough to tackle the next one that's coming my way. Let alone the "training" I needed to face these things head on. Things would have been easy because I've always thought I already made the necessary adjustments on my schedule as a working student-- I work from 8 to 5 and then go to school at night and on Saturdays. But as with Murphy's Law and the usual saying that "wait, there's more," there is really more. After a battering, bittersweet engagement with November, the best thing I got in time for Christmas were golden life lessons. And they say we're too young to experience life and learn from it. Oh no. We learn and then we grow.
First lesson: Good things come to those who pray and wait.
After failing to present my paper at an international conference last October, I was disappointed with myself for not managing my time very well. But then again, I thought there will be more opportunities to participate in academic events in the near future. I tried applying for more short courses and seminars and stuff but the usual replies I got was "thank you for submitting... your submission is impressive but the process was rigid so we only chose a few..." Natural but of course, frustrating most of the time. These also happened at the time when I had to prove that I am better now than before; that I am ready to face a different audience and speak my mind as a future scholar. I was about to give up and just try again next year when a new message from a small research foundation popped up my email. They're telling me I'm going to Hanoi for a week-long short course on peace studies and conflict transformation. Wow. Also plus points: because the office allowed me to represent the organization in the course, they paid for half of the airfare and the course fee. Did not make it to Davao but I got the chance to visit Vietnam and meet new friends. Fair enough.
Second lesson: Workload will always pile up so multitask strategically. And don't give up.
This is tough. After a five-month school vacation due to changing the start of classes, I thought I'll be more than ready for this semester. Turned out I am not really prepared. I flew to Seoul for a vacation trip a week after classes started, which means I am going to miss a few meetings. We scored a large-scale project and I was assigned to coordinate it-- should be a "yay!" but eventually, this became an excuse to skip some of my night classes. I was also cramming to finish papers for submission and presentations for class reports. Because I am thinking too much about school requirements, I also cannot focus on the new and bigger responsibilities entrusted to me at work. I ended up cranky, sleepy and zoned out. The outputs were unsatisfactory because they're either half-baked or incorrect. I was already at the brink of giving up-- forget the opportunity to excel with the project by allowing others to dictate what to do, and then just drop the classes I cannot attend and concentrate on. It was the easiest decision but of course, it was a cop out. Sharing the burden I am feeling that time helped release the pent up pressure; I could have exploded. I learned that I have to face things head on and that whatever I do-- rant and get mad at the universe for bringing it all in one heap-- the workload remains the same. The better thing is to start working one step at a time. I was not able to meet the deadlines for school papers but submitted them anyway; more confident than the initial half-baked drafts I worked on. In terms of work, it also helped to accept that I cannot do things on my own and that I need help. The event we were working on turned out to be better than expected. Of course, there were glitches here and there but we managed to pull it off in one piece. So yeah, never give up-- both on stuff that were entrusted to you or those that you've worked hard for.
Third lesson: Email is good but discussing things personally is better.
Another tough lesson to learn because a professional relationship was at stake. It started with an email clarifying for responsibilities on a certain assignment. I could have breezed through it except that there were underlying statements slightly maligning my capacity as a professional and my judgment, and also because it came from my supervisor. Of course I cried; one because I was offended but second because I thought I could have done better to prevent this from happening. The reply message was already saved in my draft inbox-- specifically answering each of the raised issues-- but decided against sending it. My closest friends also advised against sending it because this would just make things worse. I sent a sobered reply and still got a slightly inflammatory message and eventually a resignation letter. This totally pissed me off and got me crying again, this time because of anger. It did not help that I was thinking of school requirements and the fact that I am overseas attending a short course. I could have said the harshest and more honest statements just to satiate my brewing anger. Thank God for self-control. After weekend, I returned to office and was greeted by a silent protest from my superior. I chose not to mind and gathered enough courage to approach her and discuss things on my mind. She brushed it off several times but eventually faced me for some serious talking. It was hard but after that talk, everything seemed better. In the end, I realized that email provides a platform for people to lash out words by hiding behind the glare of the computer screen and the comfort of the keyboard. We think we can resolve issues because the words we used create a stronger, more authoritarian image of us. But I'd like to think, it's another cop out for the coward; because we can't tell them things personally, we attack them via cyber means. Discussing things more personally takes a different level of courage. It may or may not get messy but it gives us better chances of resolving issues more amicably by allowing us to see the other person's perspective. Unless we're really warfreaks, ya know. Hehehe.
So yeah, November is equal parts good and not so good-- had enough happy weekend activities, the self-help guru friend transferred to a different organization (no more ice creams for lunch :( ), project event was successful with several understandable glitches, studied at Hanoi for a week, met new friends from several parts of the globe, received a beating on email, did not submit papers on time, watched Mockingjay for free, went home to sleep and woke up hoping that the start of December will be better. There are more good things than bad, I'd like to think.
The lessons I learned this month are relatively harsh than the previous months, maybe because pressure had built up so much. I was at that point again where I wanted to achieve more but I end up not doing anything. But yeah, will work on this more. Until the next post.
"Sometimes there is that choice: either kick ass or kiss ass."
Choosing KICK ASS. \m/
Labels: 2014, 23, blessings, feeling profound, lessons learned, november, school, work