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Learning to Learn

“The Yellowstone boardwalk crew is the most notorious trail crew in the world.”

These were the words of our project partner midway through our week in Yellowstone. While I cannot confirm the notoriety of our crew, it is undoubtedly true that the boardwalks of Yellowstone are internationally famous. Arriving on the site as someone with little to no construction experience, I definitely felt the pressure of this high standard.

In my past work experiences, I was always a person who wanted to go into a project with all of the answers. I wanted to feel perfectly capable of completing the task at hand before I began work on the task. Prior to the start of this season, I would have been extremely intimidated by a project like this, however, my time thus far at MCC has proven to me that I am nearly always capable of more than I expect.

There is something very exciting about learning on the job, and there are ample opportunities to do so while working for MCC. Whether it’s learning how to dig tread, use a new tool, or build a boardwalk, the feeling of learning and gaining confidence as you go can be invigorating, but it’s also a learned skill that takes practice.

Over these weeks leading up to the season, I’ve learned which questions I need to ask in order to understand what is expected of me. I’ve learned to slow down and make sure I understand every step. Most importantly, I’ve grown to understand that making mistakes isn’t something to be ashamed of. Pride often gets in the way of growth, and it often takes a conscious effort to put your ego aside and admit when you are wrong.

Despite our lack of experience, the sections of boardwalk we built last week turned out very well, and it wasn’t due to luck. All of us made a conscious effort to be open to new information and feedback, and by the end of our week, we all felt highly competent performing a job that none of us had any prior experience with.

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