Balancing Act
Student Stories

Balancing Act

Luca Williams

June 28, 2024

The roads were quiet save for the occasional speedster in a sports car. There was the soft melody of whatever music happened to be in Emma’s liked songs playlist. The tendrils of light cut directly through the front windshield of the car as the morning fog cleared from our minds. I looked over at Emma’s phone which promptly informed us that we were 15 minutes away from Sunbelt Rentals HQ.

This wasn’t our first time being in the office, yet it still felt new and not yet entirely comfortable. As we entered the environment it felt distinctly corporate. You know, the bright lights, the possibly fake plants, the quotes on the wall from people with names that sound incredibly midwestern. After we checked in we were whisked away into an empty board room that was named “Susan B Anthony” (whom I thought was the singer from “America’s Got Talent”). The room felt reminiscent of a college’s new science lecture hall. 

Emma and I tiptoed to a set of seats on the edge, one row forward from the back, similar to where most people sit when they’re visiting a new church. We were greeted with a few friendly faces as more people trickled in from around the office building. Little did Emma and I know, we were in for an 8 hour meeting. So the fiscal year review began. The meeting was what could only be described as a gauntlet of information. There was presenter after presenter with a myriad of topics and presentational methods.

Thankfully Emma and I weren’t completely out of our depth. We had the 5 months prior, a host of online courses, and a couple months under our respective managers. We both felt daunted by the casualness of the room. Everyone felt so aware and calm and used to the language and the terms. Emma and I felt as though we were constantly trying to keep up.

Fast forward a day and a half and Emma and I are driving home with Mamma Mia on full blast (yes, the version with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfred), while we debriefed the whole experience. There was a distinct theme of realizing just how much we still have to learn. As we discussed all the intricacies of our past two days, we constantly had to remind ourselves that we are still students, and this is exactly that: a time for learning.

Throughout our time in the practicum we had far more lessons than just spreadsheets. We had to learn different lessons about ourselves with the help of feedback from our coaches, mentors, and even our managers.

For Emma it was finding the pace of a student. Learning when to rest and when to push oneself beyond their limits. As for myself, I had to relearn how to be a student again. That was so challenging because I had thought I had a pretty good repertoire of knowledge already. The real difficulty for me resided in the balance between trusting myself and learning how to ask for help. 

There seems to be a common theme for our lessons. One that follows the classical teaching of Aristotle: Virtue rests between two vices. This whole time Emma and I have been learning a series of more and more complex balancing tricks. We haven’t mastered everything by any measure, but we’ve begun to get closer and closer to that virtue and a little farther from our vices.

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