The Experience

As I begin writing this final reflection of my experience the last few months, I of course had to review what I have left. And I will tell you one thing:

It is weird to have everything I’ve been doing recorded in writing and in photos. Both digitally and physically.

I’ve never been one to keep up a diary, or a blog. I always start off with great intentions but it always just becomes unimportant or too much hassle after a few months. Maybe its the perfectionist in me: if you’re not going to write consistently, don’t write at all! So to have this collection of physical memories from each stage of our process, the change from beginning to end here in photographs and documented in stories, is something I’ve never experienced before.

The first thing I’d like to share, is what I thought ‘me’ was 3 months ago.

While this may not obvious to anyone else but me, even looking back on this image I can feel the insecurity behind each and every one of these statements. Its partially a natural thing, and partially an Irish thing, that you do not praise yourself, you hardly look inwards, and its something I’ve only learned since attending college, is that its okay to admit I am good at things, without having to be the best at them.

The reason I wanted to share this photo is because on our final contact day, we were told to hand around a piece of paper to our team mates and let them write feedback about us on this sheet. While it was nerve wracking to wait for everyone to fill it out, I don’t think I’ve ever been more touched by what people had to say about me (possibly because I haven’t truly been put in this situation before):

Possibly the best part of this course for me was getting to know these people. They have been amazing every step of the way and are truly great and intellgient. But to see that they felt as touched by me as I had by them, and to have it written in front of me, truly blew me away. Not only this but the fact that they wrote such nice things about me actually makes me believe more of the things I wrote about myself on the very first day.

I am always afraid to call myself the ‘team leader’ as I often feel that the name in itself is constricting, and that I have never earned the title. But to see that they viewed me in such a way, and felt as if I was in someway decent at the job, honestly has boosted my confidence above and beyond.

Presenting at Spark Up about Cross Promotion

Throughout this course I have faced things I was afraid of, lived up to much of the potential that I have and fell short in a few places (mostly due to workload of other courses at a certain point). However, the most important thing I am proud of is how effectively we managed to work as a team.

I could contribute this to my own leadership skills, Paula’s organizational skills, the book I read on Teamwork, or many other things, but mostly I feel that I was just lucky to be put with the people I was.

Photos of Pajam throughout group meetings during this course

Of course, every team must stand for something or have some purpose, have some meaning behind it. While our official purpose was Tom of Finland tourism innovations this semester, I feel like we were really just there to learn from each other.

What we felt we were made up of on the first day

From Paula, I learned so much about Finnish culture, from Juan I learned about tourism, from Mai I learned endurance and to face my fears, from Aneta I learned to relax and pay attention. None of this is what any of them thought they had to offer, and yet its what I appreciate the most from our experiences together.

While so much has changed, I feel that the same three fundamentals I wrote on that very first task on that very first day, still apply: My name, my favourite drink, and why I’m here.

I don’t know if I’ve quite gotten across how I appreciate this course or indeed the entirety of what I’ve learned (apart from my own teammates). All I know now is that:

“ The best ideas come, when your brain is already tired… ” — Jocke

Thank you Pajam, Thank you Spark Up, Thank you coaches, Thank you Finland.

Its been my pleasure.