AMP'D Blog: Katie Sipes - Lessons from the field: the hardest person to convince is yourself
This trip taught me to speak up and believe in your own abilities. The permafrost drill and all the metal rods and barrel broke. I pondered if I should share that I know how to weld, which could fix the items. I didn’t want to seem like I was bragging or talking about myself too much. After everything was certainly broken, I had to share. Welding actually fixed it- not by me, but by the generous wizard that works in Kings Bay’s shop. Maybe if welding hadn’t been brought up we would have stopped drilling.
In Ny-Ålesund, the residents are mainly Norwegian, and therefore speak Norwegian. Which is mutually intelligible with Swedish and Danish* (kinda). I’m a self-taught Swedish speaker and can get around until I need to show my American passport. Turns out, most of the residents thought that I was fluent Swedish and wrote me off as a Swede. I was speaking (in Swedish) to the chef, telling her that all the food she made was amazing and that she was so kind. She then says, “sorry, I don’t know that much Swedish.” I was floored ‘HAH, me neither’, I thought. But when you commit, and speak the sounds and listen then the brain fills in the rest of the sentence/meaning == boom, passable Swede.
I want to be an astronaut. This is not a childhood dream, but a more recent realization that I could actually be an astronaut- so let’s go for it. Because of this goal, I love all things NASA. The first day we were in Ny-Ålesund I looked out the window and saw a NASA equipment container. The chances of my favorite thing being in my favorite place - I was gobsmacked ! Especially because the USA doesn’t have a research station in Ny-Ålesund. I laughed so hard I shed a tear. The universe has a strange way of reassuring us.
Imposter syndrome is a bitch. Most of all, I learned that I can (and should) learn from anyone willing to teach me. I need to remain humble but give myself credit. I hope these lessons help someone struggling with imposter syndrome or, at least, give them the solace that we all feel it and the gumption to believe in themselves. And certainly, fake it till you make it.
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