Bad metaphors and baby birds

By Ana Devlin Gauthier

Being a new professional is so scary.  It is this confusing, conflicting sense of panic, mixed with an overwhelming sense of relief, that you finally found what you are supposed to do, followed by a momentary shock  when you realize that you are going to be working....for the rest of your life.
This summer, my last summer vacation, I was at home sitting out and enjoying the sunshine, when I noticed my dog sniffing very intently at something.  When I went over, I saw a fat, fluffy, grumpy looking bird looking very confused in the grass.  My immediate response was that I wanted to pick it up and save it.  After a little googling, I didn’t.  I left it in the grass and kept my dog away.  I watched it cheep and peep, and then flap and fly in short bursts.

The grumpy looking bird.

So why recount this story of the bird?  Because right now, I am that grumpy little bird.  I am in a new place, far from the comforts of other people taking care of me and making sure I survived.  For the first time, I am fully responsible for myself and my actions.  There are people counting on me, and if I screw it up, it is screwed up. There was no one checking every step to make sure I followed them correctly.

But here is the thing, that bird wasn’t all alone in that grass, and neither am I.  That little bird’s parents were sitting in a nearby hemlock, chirping and watching, and occasionally flying overhead, but not interfering beyond that.  In my little metaphor, those birds are my mentors.  It is no longer their job to hold my hand, it never was.  They are now flying nearby, doing their own thing, but keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t get eaten.  If I screw it up, it is screwed up, but they will help me find a way to fix it, and let me learn from my mistakes.

Eventually, that little fat, grumpy bird flew up into a tree (I know this happened. I saw it).  Eventually, I will do the same, but for now, I am that fat, fluffy grumpy bird.  A little shocked at the autonomy I now have, in awe of this new world around me, and eager to join the big kids when I figure out that whole flying thing.

So, I suppose the moral of the story is this: it is scary being in the yard all alone for the first time ever, but know that you aren’t the only grumpy bird out there, and that you have supporters, flying around, watching you to make sure nothing eats you, but allowing you to grow and learn from your mistakes until you eventually join them in the trees.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. I love this Ana. This reminds me of my first years in Student Affairs. We can be a flock of birds :) Miss ya!

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