“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
– J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Dear, future intern
As I sat down to write this sixth and final blog post, I came in knowing that I wanted to commence with a quote of some sort. Whether that be from a book, movie, song, poem, etc, I was relatively undecided. However, with such an idea rooted firmly in my brain, I began to think to myself: “What quote could I possibly use to adequately encapsulate the profound breadth and gravity of my experiences at SDC?” Not an easy question, I know. In fact, I’m still quite unsure that any quote, from any individual, regardless of time period, could even come close to such a reality. Some experiences are simply impossible to summarize with mere prose. Regardless, I still wanted to follow through with my original plan, and thus decided to go with the quote you now find sitting atop this page. This quote, a favourite of mine, from one of my favourite stories, by one of my favourite authors, stood as both incredibly pertinent and holistically relevant to the trajectory of my experiences at SDC. I hope that it perhaps sits with you in a similar light. Plus, who doesn’t love a little Tolkien, right?
I’m sure, for you personally, heading into this internship placement, there remain a whole lot of unknowns on the horizon. A lot of questions. A lot of momentous ideas and expectations. With this reality in mind, I’d like to present you with some advice and reflective encouragement.
Don’t be afraid of the challenges that present themselves to you. There will be many along the way, both internal and external in nature. Embrace them. In doing so you will learn more than you ever believed possible. True, genuine, unadulterated growth often emerges from situations ripe with adversity. Though it may seem tough in the moment, perhaps even overwhelming at times, you will soon look back and marvel at the learning inspired by such challenge.
Actively build upon the relationships that you form. 7 months goes by incredibly quick. So, while you have it, make the most of your time, with the people you will grow to love. The people you meet, work with, and live alongside will become so much more than colleagues, acquaintances, or students to you. They’ll become your friends. That’s worth everything.
Be goofy. Make fun of yourself while you teach (this is so important and works really well). Find the humour in every scenario and situation you happen to find yourself in. Laugh daily.
Embrace change in yourself. I’d have to say this is probably the most important piece of advice I can offer you, but perhaps also the most formidable. This experience, or rather congregation of experiences, will undoubtedly induce changes within you, critically shifting the perspective through which you view and attempt to understand the world around you. You will struggle with this. It will be inherently difficult at times. However, I want you to know that this is 100% okay. The learning associated with an experience such as this stands as continuous, dynamic, and, more often than not, quite erratic. As such, it will likely take you an extended period of time to truly come to terms with what you’ve learned, and with how such learning experiences have really changed you. This may in fact not occur until you’ve returned home to Canada and have settled back into some sort of familiar routine. I’m still processing what I experienced during my stay at SDC. I imagine I will be for quite some time.
I wish you all the best in the coming months and can not wait to hear about all of your experiences. Oh, and one last piece of advice: don’t forget to have fun!