Well, it certainly was a long summer. So Let’s get started…
I spent this summer working as an IT Consultant. I worked mainly at one summer camp, French Woods Festival of the Preforming Arts. Additionally, I did some tech work for Camp Chipinaw and Camp Westmont.
Most of my job consisted of repairs. Every machine needed to be checked before it was deployed, and all but a select few machines needed quite a bit of work done before I could bring them to where they would be deployed. Setting up all of these machines took me 9 weeks.
There were a few points that stood out.
Point 1: A bad day isn’t when bad things happen, it’s when you let those situations get under your skin.
For those of you who are unaware, IT is a thankless job. You have no idea what is going to break and when, and the only thing you can count on is that everybody around you is going to be practically unstable when things do go wrong.
So in IT, the best thing you can do when you go into a bad situation is be calm and collective. When people see that you don’t seem to think this is that big of a problem, they won’t think it is either.
What gets people riled up is the uncertainty. I normally have a decent sense of what the problem is and how long it will take to fix within the first few minutes of getting there, so it is much easier for me to enter a situation in a much calmer state. And even if I didn’t, there is no harm in calming others down.
The demeanor I learned at French Woods followed me back to college. Because while there is a lot of work to be done at Carnegie Mellon, chances are you know everything coming your way before your day begins. So after coming from a place where you never know what is going to break, I have found it much easier to stay calm when I’m back in my element.
A bad day isn’t when bad things happen. A bad day is when you let a bad thing get under your skin.
Point 2: Not a bad guy
I would like to credit Ali Appelbaum for saying this to me, but to add effect I am going to direct you to a video where I think you will get the idea of what this is about
Watch from 2:12 to 2:38
So let’s go look at that quote
“I don’t know who told you you’re a bad guy, but somebody did, somebody along the way. Somebody or something convinced you of it because you think you’re a bad guy, and you’re just not.”
Seems like an easy concept right? Not with my history.
I think one of the main problems I had with French Woods was it gave me the sense that the only reason people interacted with me was because they needed something from me. This sense carried when I left the area, and it later occurred to me that there is no advantage to acting like people who come up to you are there to ask you a favor. I also need to wrap my idea around the fact that I don’t scare people away within moments of meeting them. I know it sounds like an easy thing to adopt, but it is much harder for someone who actually used to believe such an idea.
When we enter primary and secondary school, the insecurities around us sometimes make kids turn on each other. To protect against their own insecurities, they bully others to cover it up. And the consequences of being a victim of such bullying can make a lasting impression.
This is a serious problem for me. The mind observes a considerable amount about its surroundings in youth, and those observations can become engrained into ones personality. To change something that deep, it needs to be constantly looked at for months at a time. I know this, simply because I have done it once before.
Fighting for a better character is a tough thing to do. You are essentially facing your biggest fears, the insecurities that you developed as a youth and are now your subconscious. And if there is one thing I learned about your subconscious is that it is more powerful than you think it is, which gives you all the more reason to make it better.
I have been working towards a better character for about 18 months now, and I need to start recognizing that I have made progress in that area.
The upside to all of this is that over the summer I was surrounded by individuals who were intent on making me understand these two points, and it is to their credit that those ideas followed me back to college.
Thanks For Reading