My story about embracing change and personal growth began about three weeks ago and is definitely still ongoing. Since arriving at the Chilcotin Holidays ranch as an intern just three weeks ago, I have already seen and experienced a lot of change, from observing leaves literally transitioning into beautiful fall colours to learning about new business projects going from concept to conception, and all the way to experiencing a “changing of the guard,” as interns who had trained me during my first few weeks moved on to new chapters of their lives. All of this change is bound to have an impact on anybody, and it can be a good or a bad thing. It all depends on how willing you are to accept and embrace it and look for opportunities rather than problems.
First week: Personal Background, Arrival, & Culture Shock
After a beautiful 6-hour drive from Vancouver, I got to the ranch in the afternoon of September 22, excited to learn new skills and have a little change of scenery. However, I soon learned that everything here was far from “little.” I remember filling out the initial arrival paperwork and going over the lengthy checklist with a sense of dread. Having to learn about the new kitchen and rules, how to ride a horse, and how to interact with guests was all so overwhelming. Keep in mind that I am from the city. I’m used to going out and buying things anytime I feel like it, having the Internet at my fingertips anytime I need to check something, and, well, gaming for hours a day. That being said, I also really enjoy spending time in nature and have hiked for hours up to waterfalls the past couple years, which is why I thought that an internship at a ranch, where I’d be spending hours outside, among many other things during a single day, would still be somewhat up my alley. I didn’t realize it then, however, but during these hikes, in the back of my mind, I always knew that I was going to return home to the city and either buy some McDonald’s or have food prepared for me by my family. I felt a great sense of security in the city. But that September night, I realized that that feeling was no more. As I settled into my assigned tent with a thin sleeping bag that I brought, the culture shock hit me. Change was coming, whether I was ready for it or not. There was no going back.
Second Week: Doubts, Patience, & Clarity
I learned more during my first week than I usually do in a month, learning how to use an axe to chop firewood, getting some experience using a roaring chainsaw, and even riding a horse up the beautiful mountains for hours and helping take down a campsite for the coming winter. I was pushed far out of my comfort zone for almost the entirety of every single day and my internship had only just begun. By the time my second week began, I was already having doubts on whether or not I was up for the job and wanted to leave because I felt like a “fish out of water” a lot of the time. However, every time I really thought about it, I knew that I was here for a reason. Embracing my job and all of its challenges could only benefit me and my future, no matter what my negative thoughts told me.
After two weeks of working at the ranch and familiarizing myself with everything and everyone, a few interns finished their time at the ranch and left to embark on their new journeys. I was happy for them but at the same time, their leaving also left a void in the community – emotionally and practically, with their duties and responsibilities having to be passed on to others and myself. I had to be flexible and adaptable because I knew that things were going to be different and I was going to have to accept that.
Third Week: Readjusting & Responsibility
My third week crept up on me and so the difficult part of change began. I had to adapt to the new normal and make the best of it all. I was surprised by how much I already missed the people who I’d only known for two weeks. But there’s no use in dwelling in the past. I knew that, and so I did my best to fight those negative thoughts. Over the next few days, I continued to learn and improve at my job and did my best to be beneficial to my ranch community that was still adjusting to the “new normal.” I cooked and baked (which I almost never did before), led horses while riding, and went on my first day ride with guests. But just as I felt like I was getting settled in and things were becoming more normal, events that followed shortly told me that it was not to be.
Halfway through week three, we were hit with yet more change. Two of our amazing interns had to leave, due to personal life circumstances. This disruption was a big shock and my mind started racing at all of the new responsibilities I had to take on, the shoes I had to fill, and so on. However, if there was anything that my first few weeks at the ranch had taught me, it was that circumstances changing is inevitable, but growth isn’t. You have to consciously take on new things with an open mind and a positive attitude if you want to grow. At the time of writing, I’ve taken on countless new challenges and responsibilities every week and I’m certain that the list will keep on growing. But that’s okay because I know I need to grow and that change, whether circumstantial or internal, is an essential part of it.
Now I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely adjusted or always welcome change 100% of the time, but I’m definitely more open to change than before and am willing to embrace the challenges and responsibilities that lay before me. I know that they’ll only make me a better person.
It’s going to be interesting to write more about change and personal growth again at the end of my term in mid-December. Definitely stay tuned for that so we can see how much I will have grown and progressed on my personal journey during my internship here at the ranch. And don’t forget to enjoy all of the blog posts in between.