So I figured that I should set out a few goals for my placement (including before I leave and after I come back). Although it is often difficult to complete every single goal you create, I think that writing down your goals ensures that you at least think about what you want, and you are likely to complete more goals than if you didn’t make the goals in the first place. Some of my goals are daily (meditate, take time to chill, etc.), some are weekly (write blog posts, Skype with my friends and family, explore new things) and some just come up as needed (such as learning to cope with stressful situations).
EWB’s Professional Fellow Program is very intensive, and it is often difficult to remember why you started and wanted you wanted to learn in the process. This plan is part of my overall placement, in terms of making it as successful as possible. Feel free to make suggestions, as I’m sure I didn’t think of everything, and I would love your feedback!
If in 3 months from now you notice I’m not completing my goals, I give you full license to say “Amanda, it doesn’t seem like you’re doing meditation every day, what’s up with that?” I may not start doing it every day, but I may tell you why it wasn’t working for me, or what I have changed to be a happier person.
Below is a summary of my goals so far. You can see a complete list of all my goals here, and this document will be updated throughout the process.
Coping Skills – Everybody goes through hard times every now and then. The difference between people is how they deal with stressful situations. I think it’s important to understand what stresses me out, and come up with coping mechanisms that will help in these situations. This is especially important when away from your home, friends and family who you can normally lean on for support in tough times.
Confidence – Some people have a lot of confidence, but sometimes I get shy or worry too much what others think of me. This stops me from being bold, reaching out to others, or trying new things without approval. I really want to work on being more confident in myself, and the work that I do, although I feel that this is going to be a long and grueling process. But I think I can do it! 🙂
Flexibility – I am normally a very organized person, though I like to think I can be spontaneous when necessary. However, my life is very structured, and sometimes I don’t do well when people don’t show up or things don’t go as planned. This is a skill I need to work on. When working with partner organizations, they might have different goals than mine, and some tasks may not be clearly articulated. Some things tend to change last minute, and EWB doesn’t seem to be the most organized organization either (though they have the best of intentions). I need to learn to “roll with the punches” and just allow things to take as much time as they take. I know that my worrying will not help things to get done on time, so I might as well relax and “go with the flow”.
Travel Skills – I’m going to Africa, that’s so exciting to me. I know a lot of people want to go to China or Antarctica, but Africa has been where I have wanted to go and live for at least the last 5 years. It seems so different from my normal life, and I want to learn a lot. Some specific things I really need to learn are how to pack light, learn what it’s like to live without reliable access to water and electricity, and how to communicate with people who might not speak my language. I also want to try new things (like food or dances) and learn about different cultures.
Other – This section is pretty small right now, but will likely grow over time. The one thing I want to ensure is that I continue to learn and do exciting things throughout my life. This might mean learning new skills, trying new hobbies or taking a course. I know that I will learn a lot in Ghana, but I want to learn a lot of things (like how to cook local food, or learn about some local artists) not just how to do my new job.
Like I said, I hope these goals are successful, but I recognize that they may fail, so I am planing to continually update them as I see fit. Even if I fail, I will continue to strive to do my best in these areas.