If anyone told me three years ago that I would one day have the privilege of living and working in New York City, I would immediately have laughed at them. The reason being, before arriving at Davidson College, certain opportunities seemed more like fairy tales, or wishful thinking. Yet the past couple of years have been a massive testament of how my Davidson education has enlightened and exposed me to very remarkable experiences and learning opportunities that have, without a doubt, built the person I am today.
The Davidson IE internship opportunity with Exubrancy is yet another powerful contribution to my professional, intellectual and personal growth and development. The past few weeks have been a series of unexpected encounters, unfathomable challenges, inspirations and personal investment. At no other point in my life have I been more conscious of my future aspirations and of myself. This city does that to you. I believe with everyone so determined and hungry here, I definitely have felt more inspired to be a better ‘me’ this summer. To really explain what the summer has been like so far, I have decided to break down my reflection into two categories: experiences within the workplace, and those beyond the workplace.
To me, “Junior Operations and Accounts Associate” is a pretty big title that I’m trying to live up to. My roles at Exubrancy grew in such a short time, and expectations have become higher and higher. I went from doing day-to-day tasks to being the contact person for the company’s major financial decisions within a few weeks of my internship. This was exactly what I was seeking when I applied for summer internships. I wanted a space that allowed the most growth and responsibility and where I was a significant fit in the operations of the company. Hence, the start-up environment was just perfect for me. I feel like there is a good balance between having the room to make safe errors that allow the company to build more efficient systems while still maintaining a high level of discipline and accountability, all with the goal of building a trustworthy reputation of company performance.
At Exubrancy, there have been times when I would make an error and my supervisor would take time out to sit down with me to build a working and efficient system so that the mistake isn’t repeated. This was interesting to me because in the past, my way of dealing with mistakes was not nearly as proactive. For example, one of my roles is the on-boarding and recruitment of contractors and establishment of client sites. It is a very operational role and is ongoing during the entire workday. It is also a multi-step process, and there are very strict guidelines about company standards. I have made errors in this role, yet each time I have, my supervisor would pull me aside and we would think through a way to not only prevent me from making that mistake again, but also to completely eliminate the possibility of it happening at all. In addition, all my superiors have a norm when something doesn’t go according to plan, which I find very admirable. Anytime something goes amiss, it is common for the person in charge to say, “It’s my fault, I should have been better at managing XXX,” even if they were not directly involved in making the mistake. I find it to be a good form of leadership in that it takes away the blame from just one person and helps to frame the error as a team loss.
Learning from the Big Apple
I just started a personal project called “21 Deliberate Days.” There is a huge “FOMO” phobia here, and I think I caught on to it, except in a slightly different way. Once I got into the grind of New York City, I felt like I could be doing more and unlike many people, I wasn’t missing the “what to do,” it was the “when to do it” part that I wasn’t quite getting. In the past few months, I have had a series of really great ideas, but I have not been very proactive with execution. In some sense, I feel like they are ideas with great magnitude (ideas that scare me), and I think that now is the time to start bringing them to fruition. Hence the idea for 21 Deliberate Days! I have given myself 21 days to work on self-development, and a lot of that includes working on the ideas I have in mind. It also involves doing some of the other important stuff that I have been putting off for a while, such as living a healthy life and exercising regularly. My hope is that by the next time I write a reflection, I should have some updates and success stories.