One Step at a Time

fresh on the int'l dev scene, traversing the developmental landscape in search of a place to lay my head, find my feet and sink my teeth

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If you don’t fall, you’re not trying hard enough

This is the advice my father gave me as an 8 year old, learning how to ski. For some reason I’m reminded of it now, as I make the difficult first introduction.

I would say I’m trying to ‘make it’ in International Development, but in fact I’m not even aiming that high- I’m still in the stages of working out what ‘it’ is, and which is the correct path to lead me to ‘it’. I finished my masters in September, and have since followed the very predictable route of unpaid internships and graduate schemes loosely related to development. I’m currently back working in the Geography Department in which I undertook both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and I find myself desperately trying to justify to everyone why I’m ‘here’ as opposed to ‘there’, even though I don’t really know where ‘there’ is, and no-one has actually asked me to justify anything.

I suppose I shouldn’t see it as falling as such- more like stalling. Despite being one of the strongest on the course, I feel like I’m being left behind. Partly because of financial reasons, partly because I wasn’t in the right place at the right time…and perhaps just ever so slightly because others had the edge over me (though my pride will not let me consider this as an option). It’s incredibly frustrating knowing my full capabilities, yet not being able to act on them. But I suppose all this dithering about has allowed me to hone in on my career aspirations, even if it’s just a case of finding out what I don’t want to do. And I know that eventually, my journey will get smoother. I’ll stop falling so often, and when I do I’ll find it easier to get back up. Until then, I’m taking it just one step at a time.