Remember when I set out to tackle the mental challenges I had set up for myself at ONA16? I had thoughts like “I am not good enough of an English speaker,” “I will never be good enough in writing in English,” “I will never sound like a native” and so on.
First of all, let me just say, changing the way you think is not an easy process. You can’t change attitudes you have had for years in three days. No matter how intense those days are and no matter how much you try, it will not be enough to break your habits.
However, a lot of progress can be made. Things can click in your brain, and you can have an enlightening realization – and that happened to me. During ONA16 I faced situations that I could not have handled a year ago. I went up to random people, I made interviews in English, I networked and, most importantly, I used the English language like it was an everyday thing for me.
I stopped worrying what other people might think if I misspelled a word or said something funny. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes because it makes you human. I said earlier that it is okay to fail, even at a professional conference like ONA16, and I still stand behind that idea. I came here to learn and develop myself and you can’t do that if you are not allowed to fail.
Looking back, I realize I could have survived with a lot less fretting. I would have been fine just being me and doing things the best way I could. I know I have the skills needed for the journalistic job so why do I doubt myself?
Breaking the habit of thinking too little of myself is hard. But for myself, I will try to do that. Hopefully, it will make my life a lot easier in the future.
The days at ONA16 have been super exciting. Combined with jet lag, they have been extra demanding. They have also been busy, trying and nerve-racking. But in the end, this experience has been one of the best things that has happened to me.
Thank you for tagging along on this hectic journey with me. Feel free to follow my progress in the future via Twitter (@Miimh) and Snapchat (@Miiimh).
Kiitos ja näkemiin! (Thanks, and goodbye!)