Escaping the Flood: The Power of Flowers

I won’t lie, I really didn’t think writing down my goals and expectations on flower petals would achieve anything other than proving that I can write catchy words and phrases to describe myself. As usual, I was proven wrong by this sheet of paper, which forced me to simmer on questions I hadn’t yet come to terms with. I’ve generally maintained the perception that whatever happens, happens and I’ll accept it or try to adapt it as best I can to help me move forward another day. I, of course, have some bigger ideas in my head about what I’d like my life to be moving forward, but the bridges that connect them to the present are shaky at best.

The first humble request the flower made of me was to consider the kinds of people I’d like to work with. If it had asked me what kind of people I didn’t like to work with, the list would have gone on for pages, so it took me a moment to think back to the good experiences and the ones I wish I’d had. Ultimately, I realized that because of some of the toxic work environments I worked in previously, I would really like to work with people who are friendly and social. Work can really feel like work when you have no one to talk to. Being able to connect with others and recognize the humanities of those surrounding you is really important to me, even if all you’re doing is typing tiny numbers into tiny boxes for hours on end.

The next challenge I faced was considering my favorite knowledges. Initially, I interpreted that idea as what fields am I most qualified in, from a career standpoint. Approaching it in that way left me with little. As I continued to think on it, I was reminded of a list I made in high school that was literally everything I was interested in or had been interested in at one point or another. While that may sound silly, it can be easy to forget what you like if you’re not regularly involved in it. For example, one of my major interests is aircraft. My grandfather is a pilot and used to take me to air shows all the time. As a result, I’m really knowledgeable about a wide variety of types, the way they work, the way aircraft are handled systemically (i.e. air-traffic control), and a bunch of other just fun plane facts. The thing is, I don’t fly very often because I don’t live near my grandfather anymore and it’s expensive (and I’m not a pilot). As a result, it’s easy for me to forget how passionate I am about it until I see or step into a plane. While that may not be a marketable field of interest, it is definitely a significant body of knowledge that makes me who I am.

Something that definitely surprised me was how long it took me to describe the places I’d like to live and the characteristics associated with them. I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and, to be honest, I love it. I may not be the biggest fan of Charleston, with its seasonal flooding and horrendous traffic, but it still feels like home. That being said, when I try to envision myself somewhere, in the distant future, I don’t really see myself living here. I’ve been out west, I’ve been up north, and I’ve been out of the country. In those travels I’ve seen a lot of places I would love to live, so I had to take a step back and not think of the where specifically, but the what that made those places desirable.

This process didn’t really help me categorize my strengths and weaknesses in a way to sell them to a potential employer, but it did help me put into words what were once vague notions. I may not know where I want to work, or the names of the people that might become my coworkers or bosses, but I have a much better sense of the elements that characterize those places and people. As I near the end of my educational career, it’s important that I have a clearer picture of what comes next and ideally that’s somewhere that isn’t slowly receding into the ocean.


One Response to Escaping the Flood: The Power of Flowers

  1. Prof VZ April 6, 2023 at 1:34 pm #

    Ooh, I’d love to see your completed flower! The link, alas, is just the blank template. If all you’ve learned from this exercise is that you “can write catchy words and phrases to describe myself,” that’s a great start! I enjoyed reading about the reflections, existential at times, on geography and the sense of people you’d like to work with. People and places–very important. I’d be curious to learn more about the skills and values pieces here as well or the personality piece.

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