Adaptation and Expectations: The Summer Experience
The last time for a whole year until I’d come back to my university to continue my last year of studying was presumed to be when I was returning seven dense textbooks that I’ve been hoarding over the last year. However, self-fulfilling prophecy does not always work out. I went through the whole two years expecting to get a year in the industry and £20,000 on a silver platter. The procrastination of genuinely achieving this has forced me to make compromises. The £550 navy suit with that beautiful paisley liberty tie could not protect me from the fundamental flaw in my logic; I can’t throw money at it and hope this dream will grow. I’ve assumed the extremely competitive world doesn’t apply to me and I could set this issue aside as I focused instead on instant gratification like drinking beer and soaking in the sun…
Even couple days before I eventually changed my direction I still believed I could secure one. I was lying to myself and I believed it. The two years of built up expectations is what frustrated me initially, followed by the realisation that I would not be living with my two best friends in London, a pact we’ve made 5 years ago that is still waiting to be fulfilled. So, I sit on a half-broken camping chair in my overgrown garden, numb and deflated, staring at a brick wall dazed as I think: “what next?”
That day I cried as no answers seemed apparent to me. Perhaps I should have tried harder from the beginning, but it was too late now; all that was left to do was move forward and try to keep my head up. I knew this wasn’t due to laziness but an intrinsic fear that everyone has to failure and rejection. As I watched everyone drop out one by one I desperately did not want to be the unlucky majority…
But after postponing the inevitable, I have been defeated like the rest of them.
Over those couple days of evaluation and reflection I slowly accepted my situation as I pondered back and forth: “is this really a defeat?” I am still standing here and nothing’s changed. I’ve been perfectly content with my life before reaching that conclusion so why bring myself down when there’s so many other options in life to take. I’ve been fixated on this one particular path that only made me feel bad because of the sustained unrealistic expectations that I have been too afraid to change.
When I hit the jackpot by securing a summer internship at Acceler8 a new path opened up that I would definitely not trade for the previous one. It’s easy to overlook the perks of alternative outcomes when you’ve invested so much of yourself into one, but I don’t think that either option is better, the difference is arbitrary, and you need to appreciate the positives of every outcome in order to accept your situation. Hedonic adaptation allows us to adjust to any big changes over time which is one process of evolution that humans have applied themselves to very well. Without the placement year I can now go travelling a year earlier with enough money saved up and will be living with a group of really good friends that I can’t wait to live with. My experience and the chain of events that follow through have been forever altered yet I continue to look forward to what happens next.
Right now, however, I am enjoying being part of Acceler8 and the triple barrel of knowledge I am gaining from this amazing experience. First one is the dynamics of a business environment, the second one is the role of sales and marketing that I undertake, and the third barrel is the context and nature of Acceler8 which is my favourite aspect of the whole internship.
Specialising in unlocking your potential and the potential in the people around you is one of the most valuable skills I think anyone can learn. Self-discovery is key to positive change especially in a world full of choices and uncertainty, and through trial and error only then will we get better at making decisions that maximize our happiness and life fulfilment. Teaching those essential tools for dealing with interpersonal communication in the workplace is also what makes Chris a great boss at Acceler8. He knows how to deal with people, how to motivate efficiently and give room for actually enjoying work which is something I have never experienced before. Unfortunately, the drawback is that now the bar is set high for any future office work which I will struggle to trump. The personal relations in the office are the most important for work satisfaction; you need an energised and welcoming environment that you can feed off the positive atmosphere from, something that Chris and the rest of the team have made possible at Acceler8.
Thank you for these two great months. I believe this period has been a deeply insightful part of my life that has shaped my outlook on life for the better and I am sincerely grateful for it.