"I’m not creative."
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Hadley Webster '22
Major | Arts & Sciences
Internship | London, England | Zen Educate
“I’m not creative,” I publicly declared to my fellow passengers.
I was sitting in a car on the way to meet with the CEO of vArmour, a very successful startup in the Silicon Valley. Lisa, Executive Director for the Baker Institute, reassured me that I would prove myself wrong by the end of my internship.
One month in and I can confidently say that although I don’t consider myself to be the Picasso of creativity, I definitely have it running through my blood.
Much of the work I do here at Zen Educate is created and driven by none other than myself. I design, produce, and lead my own projects with the helpful guidance and suggestions from my supervisor. This involves a lot of thinking outside the box: what is it that consumers might want to read? How can I use my writing to draw people into the website?
These and other similar questions have been a catalyst for my work. I have surprised myself with what I can come up with, especially in the beginning when I lacked the confidence I have now developed.
Often times, we put ourselves and our thinking in a box. We place parameters and limitations on what it is that we can and can’t do. Some of this can likely be accredited to the education we acquired prior to entering college, which involves a system that is focused on standardized testing and “getting the right answer." In fact, I attribute my earlier lack of creative confidence to a school system which -- although is very enriching -- killed some of my creativity along the way.
Besides the considerably large amount that I have learned from this internship, I have also re-instilled faith in myself and my abilities. When starting at a new job, it is expected that you don’t have much more than a base knowledge of what the company does and their mission. You acquire new skills as time goes on and you’re constantly learning from others- whether you’ve been there for two months or two years.
My first day at Zen Educate, I was nervous and timid in my approach to the job. I feared sharing an idea that would be deemed “bad” or even worse, “unoriginal.” As time has passed and as one would expect, I have become more comfortable in my surroundings. More comfortable engaging with other employees and sharing my opinions, regardless of what their feedback might be. After all, isn’t constructive criticism better than disingenuous agreement?
Although I by no means consider myself an expert at the job, I have learned skills that will extend beyond my time working here in London. Skills that allow me to form relationships with coworkers, speak up when I have an idea, and ask questions when I need more direction. In the process of building and developing these skills, I have also learned quite a bit about being a self-advocate-- something I possessed before, but to a lesser caliber.
With four weeks left, I feel grateful for my experience thus far and am sad that it’s halfway over. But it’s reassuring to know that I have things I can take away from my experience-- a reminder of how much I have learned and how much I can learn in a mere four weeks.