Blog 6: Don’t be so hard on yourself, kid.. but continue to reach for the stars.

In thinking about what sort of message I could give to the next wave of QES interns about to embark on their journey to India, I would probably just say don’t be so hard on yourself, kid.

Over the past couple of months, it took me some time to be able to go back and reflect on the experiences that I had while working in India. While others may have had a hard time settling in back home, I in fact didn’t, and instead fell so easily back into my life in Canada that I nearly forgot where I had just come from, or rather, I might have been blocking it out of my mind.

It took me some time to want to go back and reflect on my experiences because I think what I had been feeling for so long while I was away was a constant state of shock in which I had not allowed myself to fully process, and as a result, it wasn’t until after I arrived back home in the comforts and safety of my friends and habits that I began to slowly process the multitude of feelings I had while in India. Anger, frustration, confusion and fear mixed with happiness, gratitude and hope, these emotions piled on top of one another, like stacks of books I had yet to get around to reading. I can’t say this was the right or wrong way to deal with or understand my reaction to what I had just experienced, but it was my way, and after all, this was a very personal journey and experience for me, and it will be for you too.

That is why I would just say that it’s okay if you are feeling frustrated, angry or scared, it is even okay if you don’t get along with the other interns or people you are there with. It is okay if you want to stand out, it is okay if you want believe that your purpose there is to contribute to a bigger change, in fact please do believe this! Just like high school, there will always be others who try to rain on your parade, steal your ideas, try to bring you down or who just simply won’t be as enthused as you are, but remember: they are not on your journey. Be true to yourself, and be open and genuinely curious about everything, this will feed and fuel your inspiration and keep you sane.

Let yourself dream, this is your chance to shine! This is a crossroads where so many people might never have the chance to choose to take, and more than anything it is an opportunity. An opportunity for you to be the best version of yourself, to grow and to challenge your own preconceptions and to expose yourself to a culture that is beautiful, complex and challenging.

You will struggle, but remember that struggling is growth and growth is life.

I would say, if you are doing this just to gain a course credit, add a bullet point of experience on your resume or have some sort of a intern-vacation, this is not for you. This experience will give you the opportunity and ability to engage with people and work on issues that are big and meaningful, and the people who they are impacting and effect are not there for an instagram story. They are real, and the issues are real and believe it or not, you can contribute to meaningful change if your values and morals are in the right place, so don’t sell yourself short and be honest about what drives you as a person and always think bigger picture.

Find the joys in everyday, find humor and laughter in yourself and even in the gloomiest of days and always be kind, even to those who aren’t so kind to you. For me, these are all things that I thought about and struggled with while I was working in India, and especially in the rural communities, and ultimately what led to me finding and creating my own project, which was for me, was the highlight and the biggest success of my internship.

Just know that we are all on this journey we call life, and this opportunity is but a winding beautiful road just waiting for you to embark on, a road that is filled with hope, change and self discovery.