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- Week 4 Reflection - 13 July 2017 -
The morning commute is a passage into anonymity: a face may be a moment’s
recollection complimenting a roaming thought in the late afternoon, a glance while seated inside
the train is but a lingering trace of the cautious nature of the omnipotent public eye, a fragment
of conversation interrupts the resounding silence with its colourful melody. It is a journey of the
senses with the beauty of solitude as its background. There is a particular quote that resonates
with my personal nature – “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses
the glory of being alone.” In America, it is difficult to come to terms with this deeply sheltered
bud of my identity. In London, however, its outer petals have curled back, embracing the
sunlight of this inherent feeling of belonging. I have not lost my roots to home by any stretch of
the imagination, but it is a breath of fresh air to have this private freedom for myself. Not only
have I developed a keen awareness of my inner self these past four weeks, but I have also formed
promising connections with my colleagues. While at the office, I actively try to look beyond the
rigid description of my interning position and instead use my emotional intelligence to ultimately
be a lending hand to whoever is willing to accept it. By offering my services on a daily basis, the
account directors have accepted at least the tangible reward for my presence; of course, I desire
more fulfilling relationships than these, but it is just the beginning in my opinion. Within the first
few days of my employment, I believe that my defining feature was simply my home – the
distant land of the United States. As time progressed, my identity began to shift into something
more meaningful as I mentioned before; I was no longer just an intern, but a carefully placed
gear to keep the mechanisms of the workplace running efficiently. In fact, two other interns just
arrived on Monday this past week and one confessed that she had originally mistaken me for a
full-time employee upon our first exchange.
Unlike the majority of those I am familiar with, my professional identity often aligns
closely with my personal one; it is an integral part of my character and I have trouble
distinguishing the two in social settings. However, there are a few factors that are slightly
different when given situations with close relatives in comparison to with colleagues. When I am
with long-held friends and family, I typically am the one who sorts out the logistics of our
meetings and tries to manage our shared time together as best as possible; recently, I have
learned to spare some room for spontaneity (a quality that I greatly admire in my friends), and
have discovered that those occasions oftentimes create the most eye-opening stories to remember
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later on. The select individuals within my social circle are the mediums that I use for personal
growth; my closest friends compliment my personality and inspire me on a regular basis. For
example, one of my high school friends, a Type-A and well-read student, left his home in
Cupertino to attend the University of Warwick in England. He once told me that the secret to
living a fulfilled life is to never be ordinary. As simple as that statement may be, it completely
altered my perspective on how I should approach the course of my life; I regularly remind myself
that every minute is an opportunity to draw the line between a lost memory and a deeply
cherished one. Authenticity, I think, is an integral part of achieving a meaningful lifestyle
because it becomes difficult to measure what the next appropriate step is if one is not in touch
with oneself. However, staying true to one’s nature does not necessarily require sacrificing
privacy. It may be just the fact that again, my professional self is closely tied with my personal
identity, but I try to draw an ideal first impression upon every meeting – one that will allow me
to be remembered not for my strange accent, but rather for my character. When I return the
following day, my new acquaintance can match the sound of my name with kindness,
intelligence, and honesty. Authenticity can refer to stories from experience, which inevitably
bring up concerns over appropriate content, but I actually connect more with those who share
their knowledge with me. I attach the memory of their face to bits of the discussion that we had
over a number of topics, whether that be the beauty of languages or the allure of reality shows
for the general public. It is up to the occasion to decide where our thoughts lead.
The manner in which I express myself does not depend on who I am speaking with, but
the energy of the exchange. This may seem abstract, but it is the best way to describe how I
choose to voice my thoughts. For example, if the pacing of my colleague’s words are rushed, that
is a cue for me to respond with a complimentary tempo to not disturb the set rhythm so to speak
– generally, this means extracting the essential information from the given task in as little time as
possible or reserving my unrelated questions for later. On the other hand, when my desk mates
converse about more light-hearted topics, I swallow down my introverted tendencies and
welcome the unique energy of that particular conversation. In comparison to my first week, I not
only better understand the implicit cues for certain forms of communication (primarily email
versus addressing them out loud), but also have picked up on how each individual prefers to be
spoken to – whether that be keeping the formalities of an age difference or inviting them to eat
lunch together with little notice. Overall, I believe that I am still hesitant to mention my opinions
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in front of others since I have a limited background in luxury travel, but the basic foundation of
how I communicate has remained strong.