Day 9: *Summer Solstice*
It’s been a loooonnnngggg day for me.
On top of the typical workday hours, I had to stay late for the annual event Southface has cleverly named
The Summer Solstice
It’s a networking event essentially. We invite out all our members and stakeholders, friends and colleagues, business partners and other people who work in the sustainable building realm to talk and drink and eat some appetizers from Whole Foods and delicious ice cream.
A less formal version of a cocktail party is the best I could describe it.
As an intern, I was expected to help run it – event staff – essentially. I was given the job of ice cream scooper (and you win the bet if you guessed that I of course had more than one serving of ice cream, I mean I didn’t get dinner so I had to count this as a meal, had to make it worth wild 😉 )
This Solstice was a bit different though from previous ones. We were doing a celebration of our retiring Executive Director, conveniently also one of the company’s founders! Well, he’s not retired yet, but he will be by the time the Winter Solstice party occurs in the winter, so this is really his last big event aside from the Visionary Dinner in September (also dedicated to his service to Southface.) We invited all previous employees and interns to come back and join us, and that is a lot of people. Southface has been around since 1978, hundreds of people have come through here. It was the biggest turn-out Southface has had, everyone really respects and admires Dennis Creech.
Remember one of posts from last week about my awkwardness in social situations. Take that and max it out here. I knew no one. NO ONE here! At least not well enough to feel comfortable to walk right up to them and strike out a conversation out of the blue. Introverted me wanted to run and hide in the back corner and become a wallflower until it was all over. At least for the first half of the event I had my ice cream scoop to hide behind. I could make cute/charming small talk while scooping ice cream. That was easy and I felt good doing it.
It was only until my shift ended that I realized I had to go try to be an adult. I grabbed myself a drink from the bar- just water because I didn’t want to drive home buzzed when I got off, nervously sipped it and looked around the crowd of older, experienced people trying to come up with a game plan (helps me to have a game plan.) A fellow saw me and pulled me over to talk for a little bit, that helped, gave me something to do but she was quickly pulled away by a group of people whom she had previously worked together. That left me alone again, still in a big crowd of people and no way to nagivate.
Deep breathes Bryn, it’ll be okay.
Mustering up all the courage I had, I just walked over to a group and introduced myself. Turns out I was talking to a woman and a man who worked for the Mayor in their office of sustainability. I sure know how to pick my first person to approach, psssh. Getting to know local government. We had a nice conversation, very friendly people, and of course they liked my choice of college and studies and all the work I do for my campus (made me feel good about myself, confidence baby! <3)
After a couple of minutes they needed to move on so I’m back to crowd surfing.
A gentleman who I served ice cream to earlier came up to me and asked me about myself. When I was serving ice cream I had mentioned I was an intern who had only been here for a week and was just here for the summer. He wanted to know more about why I chose to work here for the summer. I talked about my interest in design, the built environment, and sustainable building. I also told him about the internship I have in the fall and needing to learn about LEED certification and how this place just seemed like the perfect environment to learn it. He himself worked in LEED construction and loved my take on everything (said it gave him hope for my generation to see the light and help fix all the problems his has been dumping on us.) Overall a very charming guy, I appreciated his sentiments.
The crowds were starting to get overwhelming at this point to me. If there were a good group of people I could just go and hang with for a while I’d have been fine staying all the way through to the end, but all the other fellows were spread throughout the crowd. I figured I had made a good attempt, and was hungry and hot/sweaty so I was thinking it was time for me to call it a day and head home.
Overall, I probably could have put myself out there more, worked harder on talking to new people but I know that I will work on this skill over the next year or two. Hopefully some work with the Agnes Scott career planning team will get me more up to speed on networking and putting myself out there.