Reflecting a fun and stimulating week of Atlas Corps’s training with my fellow Fellows, here I note some things I noticed about my life.

Figuratively, a path I take seems to be essentially a spiral-shaped arrow without a clearly defined center. It started at a random point, the arrow stretches toward outside, swirling. Spiral, but not beautifully circular, rather, a line intersects at some points as it increases its diameter, yet the tip of the arrow wants go somewhere else, a newly-being-drawn line can be close to the already drawn line, but somewhat defying the temptation to overlap too long. I know that this description is beyond my usage of English and may not make sense to many people. Another metaphor would be a galaxy. Although slightly different from what I was trying to describe, planets orbits can cross at some points circulating independently, yet being together around a center.

The point here is, I think, that I appreciate repetitive learning, and yet, I want to understand, regard as, and apply the learning differently and creatively.

“Project management” We had a two-day condensed version of a project management training. I used to work in the Information Technology (IT) industry as an engineer/consultant, and the work was all project-based. Me and my colleagues, rookies of a company, needed to go through a mandatory training on project management before assigned to real world projects. Most of the terms in this time of training sounded familiar, and most of the tools were actually used in the real projects. I have seen and used them as a project member. Moreover, the training course was derived through the IT industry’s project management. At this point, I could have been very skeptical of its relevance or regarded the training as too repetitive, and I could have stopped learning. A conversation with a trainer helped me get out from the “boring” trap.

I wanted to understand why this course was relevant to the development sector. The method’s emphasis on “defining the scope” sounded exactly why so many top-down approach projects have failed. That was my resistance to the whole training. However when I asked this question, the trainer had a point saying, in order to convince private sector where so much potentials for money, resources, and goodwill reside, nonprofit sector has to speak the same language and show that nonprofit sector is equally competitive and efficient group. I ended up being partially convinced, and that motivated me towards active learning.

The next week after the training, at work, I decided to use one of the tools that was introduced in the training, which I knew from my work experience. I knew it, but it would not have come across for applying it without having attended this course.

So coming back to my floating metaphor, this learning brought me new insights on what I knew and on nonprofit/development sectors, and highlighted a managing perspective of a project (rather than a member). The spiraling arrow touched the already drawn for a while, but avoided staying too long and the tip of the arrow wandered off into blank space.

It is interesting how my path evolves. Writing down takes a lot of efforts.

Lastly, to dear fellow Fellows, I have to admit, that I appreciate, the most, about being an Atlas Corps Fellow, the meeting with all of you from various countries as well as my home country. I do enjoy your personalities as humans in the first place, and comparing and contrasting different cultures ingrained in yourselves, and yet watching growing into something else. Very dynamic. The environment we meet is special, under the mission of Atlas Corps, and it partially defines what we are as a group. I think that offers a unique platform we can grow together. I learn a lot from you about life, nonprofit work, countries and regions, and “development”. I am grateful for all of you and the environment.


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