Looking back at my time in Berlin, my most significant growth were I cultivated a couple fantastic habits and became more disciplined.
Firstly, I reignited my passion in reading during this internship period; I developed a habit to read one chapter everyday. It all started during the finals week of last spring semester. I met my friend at the Perch, and he started sharing about a book which inspired him to live a better life. We had a quality discussion on several topics covered by the book. Then, he told me that he had been handing out several copies of the book to his friends hoping they benefit from reading the book. Therefore, he also handed me a copy of the book and suggested that I read just one chapter everyday throughout the summer. I accepted that offer because I thought I would have tons of spare time during my internship in Berlin and reading one chapter of 2 to 10 pages is not going to take me more than 15 minutes per day. However, the reality was the exact opposite. I was so worn out everyday after work; I did not feel like reading after a busy day. Hence, I had trouble keeping up with reading one chapter everyday. I read at most 3 days in the first 3 weeks. When I finished the first 10 chapters, I realized that I learned many life lessons from the book and the stories were extremely inspiring yet relatable. In addition, I felt very peaceful every time I calmed myself down to focus on reading; I noticed that reading helps me to focus my mind, and I would be more productive after reading. I could finish writing my blog and discussion board posts faster because my ideas kept coming up as I had less distraction from and urge to watch movies nor play video games. Starting my forth week in Berlin, I forced myself to read one chapter everyday even when I was traveling to a different country during the weekend. Allocate 15 minutes for reading during vacation was easy; I would sometimes complete my daily read during my commute from one destination to another. Now, two weeks after my Berlin internship, I am still on top of my reading habit; I have done reading the book from my friend, and I bought a few books for my reading these upcoming months. I will keep this good habit because reading makes me a more sophisticated person and improves my life everyday.
The second habit I developed was to exercise 5 times a week, Monday through Friday. For the past spring semester, I did not keep up with exercising regularly. I planned to work out 4 times a week, but I often showed up at the gym for only once or twice a week as I was swamped with tons of coursework and responsibility towards my student organizations. I was not satisfied with my progress on getting into better shape. Thus, I listened to my best friend’s advice to make exercise part of my life by working out for shorter period but more frequently. It was easy to think about how I could workout 5 times a week to get a buff physique, but working 9 to 6 everyday “killed” me and made me not wanting to hit the gym in the evening. However, because of my desire to get into great shape, I disciplined myself to workout every Monday through Friday. I felt accomplished every time I finished my exercise for the day. After 2 months of determination, I am now 1 month away from making this habit a life-long habit. There is a popular saying that it takes 90 days of dedicated repetition to convert a routine into a life-long habit. I want to maintain this exercise habit because it keeps me healthy and elevates my mood.
On top of developed two awesome habits, I also became more disciplined. I had to better discipline myself because working 9 to 6 everyday left me with very limited personal time. Every morning, I woke up at 7:30am to enjoy breakfast, catch up with news and prepare lunch box. Every evening, I would take 20 minutes power nap to recharge from a busy day at work. Then, I exercised and read before taking shower and eating dinner. I would spend the remaining night time completing my assignments. I made myself go to bed early because regardless of how late I went to bed and how many hours of sleep I had, I have to wake up at 7:30am the next day. Above is the routine which I followed every weekday. It was very hard to stick to it; I had to overcome my inner resistance because my mind would always tell me not to do any of the them. It took me one month to master this routine; I only fully abide to it by the second month in Berlin. In my opinion, discipline is very crucial because it helps me to utilize every moment and be more productive.
To sum up my experience in Berlin, I am very grateful to develop these two incredible habits and to be more disciplined. I will carry them forward because I can see them contributing a lot to my future in a positive way both personally and professionally. Moreover, this internship also made me reflect on my life and think about the meaning of my life. I wanted to become a digital nomad who travels the world and works online anytime anywhere. However, from this internship, I found that working during the weekdays and traveling during the weekends were extremely draining and demanding. Hence, I have to make changes to my digital nomad dream to discover my own balance between work and travel.