Old Habits

August 26, 2016

I have a confession to make. In high school and in college, I was that student. You know, the ones that would sell their arms and legs for a good grade? Maybe cough up a tear or two? I’m a little miffed thinking back on it—how I scampered around campus completely missing the point

The immediate feedback, recognition, and validation that grades provide are so impractical for real life. I don’t get a gold star or an A+ for cleaning my house, making an edible dinner, or working hard enough at my job that I can take pride in my work. And, for some reason, that makes it harder. I think for the people that were married to their grades, that mentality follows us around in life, and it’s hard to shake.  Immediate gratification is like a checkpoint. Without it, we can feel lost, wandering in the dark, wondering if we’re going the right way, doubting if success in our work and in our lives even exists.

I don’t always have the stamina for delayed gratification, and even now as a working interpreter, I’m caught off guard by this mentality pulling at my heel like a ball and chain. Continuing education opportunities come up, and I think, “But that’s my Saturday,” or “I already have enough CEUs.” And just like that, I’ve limited the value of workshops, conferences, interacting, and learning to a number that I have to earn. It becomes a requirement, and requirements are nasty, tedious little things that are to be despised without exception. Forget that I’m improving in my profession, forget that the workshop is a topic that I struggle with, what do I actually get out of it? I spent so many years measuring my progress with a grade that now that I’m without my measuring stick, I can easily lose sight of the goal.

Maybe you’re nodding along because you, like me, were trained to live for these meaningless stamps of approval. Maybe you were more well-rounded in your educational experience, and you think I need to claw my way up out of the rabbit hole. Whatever the case may be, no one is immune to complacency. Whether you feel lost without your trophy collection and have allowed yourself to be satisfied with the bare minimum, or you feel as if you’ve “arrived” and are content with the status quo, you shouldn’t give up on continued growth. This is a lesson I’m trying to remind myself of everyday. I have a long way to go. It’s easy to tell myself how busy I am or think about how much I’d rather read a book with a glass of wine, but at the end of the day, who am I to let these opportunities for growth pass by?

What workshops or conferences have you grown the most from? Are there any topics you hope to see presented at a workshop?


By: Rachelle Clifford


One Comment

  1. Amanda Cowan

    Hi there, as far as topics presented in a workshop…I always love to see anything related to medical or mental health. As well as trilingual (English/Spanish/ASL) interpreting methods. Thanks!

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