Checking My List and…Going with the Flow?

One of the most valuable skills that I’m learning this summer: to be flexible and adaptable. I am one of those people who love writing lists. I write lists for everything and anything. Daily to-do lists, weekly to-do lists, lists of books to read, grocery lists, etc. And I love checking off the boxes of each task that I’ve accomplished.

I approached Kim and Jeff this past semester and told them that I was interested in coordinating GIV Day. I felt that I was the right person for the job because of my love for lists and accomplishing tasks by the deadline. Beginning the summer, I still felt entirely in my element. E-mail community partner invitations. CHECK. E-mail student leader invitations. CHECK. Attend weekly orientation meetings. CHECK. Contact catering and transportation. CHECK. I had it down. One thing after another…I was checking them off my list and it felt great at the end of that first week to know that I had accomplished everything that I had set out to do.

So, the weeks flew by and suddenly I wasn’t able to follow my handy-dandy checklist as closely as I had before. Community partners weren’t giving me the information that I needed to move on to the next step. Student leaders were not responding to my e-mails by the deadline that I so clearly pointed out to them. Unexpected road blocks began popping up here and there.

At first I was rather frustrated. Things weren’t going exactly as I had planned. What if I couldn’t get everything together in time? Then, I decided to just go with the flow (as best as I could). Sometimes it’s important to be flexible when dealing with a project. Can’t get one task completed? Move on to a different task that is doable. Flexibility doesn’t mean that a task will be pushed aside in favor of another—it simply means that the format needs to be adjusted a bit.

In the past couple weeks, I’ve been referring to my GIV Day checklist less and less. I still know exactly what needs to be done, but I’m also focusing more on what can be done now based on outside influences. I must remind myself that I’m still being just as productive. I am still accomplishing my goals and, yes, checking off the tasks. But, I’m learning how to do it all while dealing with the realities of life. Life doesn’t follow a checklist. It just happens. And that’s not about to change so we have to adapt.

-Emily Hauck ’14