When I decided to take a gap year due to Covid restrictions, I was initially stumped as to how I would spend my time productively. I’m trying new experiences, taking dressmaking classes, perfecting my banana loaf recipe and even getting my driver’s license (a great feat for someone who doesn’t know her left from her right) - though I believe I am most grateful for having the opportunity to work at MindTerra.
I’ve never had a real job before, and MindTerra has set the bar for my idea of an ideal workplace environment. I had this warped view of work being something to dread as you entered adulthood - a life with deadlines and yearning for retirement. However, I was surprised to find that a workplace included such things as weekly skill shares, personal mentor meetings, as well a work outing to a wakeboard park.
Aside from the wakeboarding experience, I think the most valuable thing I have learned about work is that passion drives success. The MindTerra team - a group of dedicated and compassionate writers, creators, and advocates - is the reason why their dedication and work to improving mental health stands out from traditional approaches.
I could go on, sharing how great a platform I believe MindTerra to be, but I’d rather share a collection of my favorite moments:
A most memorable skill share from Joanna, in which we learnt the art of single line drawings, leading to some modern day Picasso worthy works.
Toffy’s response to the journaling prompt ‘Slice’, where she shared her take on “slices of life,” how every piece is important, and how we deserve a slice of everything in life.
A conversation during a team meeting, where the debate between metric vs. imperial measurements were thrown out the window, replaced with “small enough to fit in a washing machine”.
The newfound excitement I have for using my bubble tea themed journal.
Learning that Linda was an Intern-turned-staff member, showing her dedication to a cause she found important.
And finally, being encouraged to share my ideas, even in the form of an upcoming TikTok 101 skill share.
Essentially, interning with MindTerra has been an incredible opportunity for me and I hope that this glimpse into my day-to-day encourages all readers to find a working environment, or even a passion project, that will allow them the same rewarding experiences. I have a better sense about what motivates me and the types of people with whom I work best, which should translate well when I am looking to join clubs and take on other internships when I start college in August. That is, I feel most empowered surrounded by people who take an interest in my personal life and who are united by a drive to improve society; here, we believe in the power of improving mental health.
To those who are starting school, looking for their next job, or simply starting a new chapter in their lives, we, at MindTerra, implore you to imagine the best possible version of this and then, get out there, and make it happen! Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Determine You Motivations and Passions
What gets you up in the morning? What is your favorite subject at school? What types of content interest you the most? Take inspiration from your everyday life to determine what it is you might want to explore in a professional setting. For example, if you enjoy theatre, maybe this means you thrive in environments that incorporate public speaking. Or, if you like maths (... and if you do, please reach out to help me with some homework!), you’re more of an empirical thinker and might want to explore roles in data analytics. Make a mind-map! Document your personal interests and identify the ones you’d like to turn into a career.
You’ve figured out what excites you and, now, we can conduct research to see how it might manifest in the real world. You can do this by searching up people you admire and who have similar interests as you-- celebrities, CEOs, your older family members, alumni from your school-- and seeing how they started their careers. For example, the other friend who loves theatre and performing ended up working at TED Conferences! The cousin who is good at maths, he also is passionate about the environment, and went on to work in finance at a sustainability startup! Of course, these are fictional scenarios, but they are examples of how you can conduct research to see what your skills and passions could look like.
What’s that saying…? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. How will you actually know if you want to pursue your passion in the real world if, at first, you don’t experience it? We encourage you to take initiative and speak to the people you researched to learn more about their lives day-to-day. Reach out politely for a quick call or coffee, and see if they’d be willing to share more insight about their career journey. You might just find that they started by writing out all their passions in a mind-map!
I’ve been able to experience an incredible internship with MindTerra and plan on figuring out my next step by going back to my initial passions and motivations.
What are you waiting for?