I’m a pro

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I am starting to hit the climax of my workload in the program. I am navigating between language classes, research work in and outside my internship, research for the internship class, and soon I will be assigned another research project – written in Arabic. In addition to this, I have activities with my assigned language partner, friends who I would like to see, and a need for personal time to workout and ensure I’m not overly exerted.

Pictured: How I am feeling. 

Professionality to me

I believe myself to have a strong work ethic, but this strength can also be a weakness if not managed well. Work ethic alone does not make a great employee, worker, or volunteer. There has to be an element of personality and understanding of one’s own limits, whether physically, mentally, or temporally. I would deem this element professionalism.

To take on work without reflecting on capability or setting boundaries is to risk personal time, the quality of work, or other experiences that may come along. I can already feel some responding with “well, that is all well and good, but not everyone is in a position to say no.” And this is true. There are many times in my life where I did not or could not apply this ethic to my own life. But, I have noticed that while flat-out refusal is not acceptable, many things in life are negotiable. This is, I believe, the sign of someone being a professional – navigating conflicting demands and knowing your own capability.

Pictured: I found out it was in my capability to follow a college-level course in Arabic.


This is especially true in Jordan. Negotiating prices is well understood in the Middle East context. But so should negotiating due dates, work load, and where the group should go for lunch. I have already negotiated a few times. Once when my class should do a cooking activity (part of the curriculum), what should be required in completing an assignment, as well as the due date for that same assignment. This negotiating was all just part of navigating the competing personal and professional pulls during my time abroad.

Time to work

To add to this, in Jordan there is a looser nature of time. While we have set deadlines in the classroom, at the internship the due dates can range by days. Not having hard and fast deadlines seems nice, but it has a way of obscuring what is or isn’t of priority. Of course, there are examples of times when there were hard deadlines at the internship; our first task was to edit, organize, and reform a CV before we left for the day. But this almost the exception with the sort of come-and-go nature that my workplace as expressed to me.

Pictured: Political cartoons in Arabic at the Center for Women’s Studies. 

I anticipate in the coming month having to remind myself about my thoughts about professionalism. I will communicate my needs and objections to be the best worker, student, and friend that I can be.