So what do I mean by the greatest experience? Remember the days when your mom, dad, teachers and friends are always telling you to stop procrastinating and plan ahead of time? Well, here’s the thing. No matter how much, how long, or how well you plan things, it’s always going to fail. And why do I say so? Because life is never a flat straight road.
Here’s my explanation to it. As an intern at the Office of City Representative (OCR), I was in charge of mascot outreach for Philadelphia Kids Fun Run 2015. Everything was smooth-sailing with constant communication with the mascots via email, had their parking passes ready, and gave them my contact information and the location to meet on marathon day. I placed all important documents in a folder and kept it safe. And so happen, my first mistake had to occur on the event day itself. I switched to a new bag, completely forgot the pile of parking passes and left home without even double-checking my things. That was Mistake One.
After arriving on-site at the event, I had no idea where my supervisor was and I was on panic mode when I realized I forgot to bring the documents with me. I quickly called other OCR staffs and told them the truth about my mistakes. My resolution was to go home, grab the file and come back immediately. Unfortunately, it was a no go because there wasn’t much time left and the mascots could be arriving anytime soon. And then I received a call from Wally Goose mascot. Anxious as I had to hand over the parking pass to him, he came walking over to me instead. To my surprise, I asked, ‘How did you manage to park your car without a parking pass?’ and he said, ‘Oh, I managed to talk my way in.’ That was a huge relief for me and I quickly escorted him to a tent. One mascot down, four more to go.
As I waited for the rest of the mascots, my supervisor assigned 3 helpful volunteers to assist me. I was happily chatting away and at the same time waited for the mascots. I ushered one of the girls to assist Wally Goose and had others on standby. This time I told myself I am not going to mess this up and got this all planned well. That’s what I thought. Time was ticking and the rest of the mascots are still nowhere to be found. It was already 9.45am and the race is going to start at 10.30am. Yet again, it was a huge mistake of mine to not note down any of their numbers on my phone, assuming that they will call me instead. That was Mistake Two.
Quickly rushing to the Media tent to speak to my direct supervisor, I had asked if I could use her laptop to open up my email and take a look at my inbox. She was not very pleased with my actions but she willingly gave her laptop and exited her account for me while she was busy with her work. That was the worst mistake ever done because I have given the impression to my supervisor on how unprepared I was as a person and also an intern. That was Mistake Three.
Despite all that, I managed to get a hold on the mascots and had them all on-standby at 10am for a meet and greet session with the kids. Everything went well externally as the crowd were pleased and had fun with the mascots.
Throughout the day, mistakes kept happening again and again. But what I have really learnt here from this experience is to not look at your own faults. And why not, you say? Because you’re only going to keep looking at the problem, not the solution. Problems occur all the time and other elements are affected at the same time. Clearly the mascots were the one who came late but they felt no sense of guilt because they managed to arrive before the event started. So who is to be blamed then? Me for arranging such an early time to meet or them coming in just in time? Who knows.
No matter how much planning is put into something, the skill that we really need to master is the skill to cover up a mistake and create a solution to it. Hence, that is why I said this is the greatest life learning experience I have ever had because it is impossible for schools or universities could teach me this skill nor my parents. I’m forever thankful for the experience that the Office of City Representative has given me, making me better prepared for the real world. Thank you!