What is success to you?

As I am entering the last week of my summer abroad in Berlin, I have been trying to make the most of my time here. This past Monday and Tuesday were very work-heavy days for me. I had a lot to do coming back from two back-to-back weekends of traveling, therefore I focused my time on finishing the tasks on my work checklist. I finished the infographics and posted them to our company’s social media page. I wrote and completed a background paper on PFAS in our environment, specifically in water. This paper will be posted on our website along with the other background papers my coworkers have written. I think it is a great way for people to access information that is easier to read, as opposed to scientific papers that might not be the most user-friendly for the general public. I am proud of what I wrote and I hope that people read it and gain some insight into the dangers of PFAS in water. Then, I worked on updating the company’s website. I have never done any type of website design before, so this was definitely new for me. At first, I was daunted by the task when my boss showed me the WordPress website. But, after a few tries (and fails), I got the hang of it. I updated the English version of the website by adding a page to access the papers that I wrote. It was very time-consuming and tedious, but it was very rewarding to be able to access the final product. On Wednesday I asked my boss if she had any more legal-related work that I could possibly help on. Since it is about to be my last week, she was hesitant to give me anything substantial because it was unlikely I would be able to finish it. But after brainstorming for a bit, we decided that coming up with an efficient and accessible way to find information (internally and externally) about water-related laws would be a quicker task for me. Therefore, Wednesday and Thursday I started to work on that. I remembered from my mid-term review that my boss mentioned that I could have a bit more innovation in my work. This made me want to find a new way to internally access information that would be most helpful for my company. I found a way to categorize and tag Google documents that would make searching for them much easier within the drive. Then, I hope with asking for more work within the legal realm, I can also show more personal drive. 

Other than work, I did small things throughout the day. I wanted more of a relaxed week and to be able to focus on work more, so I mostly went out for coffee or thrifting after work. This week we met with Britta and our whole cohort. It was nice to see everyone one last time before the end of the program. We were all sharing how our work went and our favorite things about Berlin while sitting outside in a garden. I definitely will be missing all the different spaces you can sit outside and relax when I return to Pittsburgh. Since I don’t work on Fridays, I spend the day at a lake just outside of Berlin. It was a beautiful day and just having that time to relax outside was so nice. We rented out a row boat for an hour which was so much fun. I have never used a row boat before, so it was a little embarrassing during the beginning while trying to figure everything out, but by the end of the hour we were experts in rowing. Every second Sunday of the month there is a flea market in Neukolln. This Sunday we were able to make a trip to go to it and it was so cool. There were tons of vendors selling clothes, jewelry, art, furniture, and food. I bought some jewelry and prints that I plan to gift to my friends. 

Honestly, I am not quite sure how success is defined in my host country because I have had very limited exposure to German work environments. But, to my company, success is showing up every time and working hard on your projects while doing your best. In the past when I showed up to outreach/community events on weekdays and weekends, and my boss has always very positively regarded my dedication to the job. Then, when I was clear about what I wanted to do and what I am able to do, task-wise, my boss also saw that as successful job done. I think that this definition of success can apply very easily to the United States as well. When I try my best and show that I am working hard, my bosses in America have also responded very positively. 

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