(3) Wrapping Up

The more that I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I’ve felt this to be the case in life, and certainly in my work this summer. Working with Consensus, I very quickly found out the depth of knowledge involved in expertise in the field, and my own excitement to delve deeper.

Unsurprisingly, conflict resolution and peacekeeping is a vast field. I knew this going in. What I failed in some ways to grasp was the degree to which it is tied in with academia. There is a massive body of work dedicated to these topics, and leading experts whose studies are focused on these disciplines.

This is all to say that a person could devote a lifetime to the field. From the delicate intricacies of mastering one on one negotiation to the unbelievable complexities of resolving conflicts between millions of people, it’s a field that requires real expertise. For any good work, including social justice work, success is dependent on deep research and experience, and learning from others more knowledgable.

My own expertise is more limited, but I do have skills to bring to the table. I hope that what I have been working on will have some sort of impact at Consensus. I’ve worked hard to help develop their online presence, and I hope that they will continue to succeed in connecting and communicating with clients in some small part thanks to my work.

But I realize that I am working with a team of talented experts, people who happen to have studied communications extensively. These are people who I am lucky enough through this work to have had access to. Considering my desire to improve my own skills, I have tried my best to take the fullest advantage of this opportunity.

I think if I were to start over again, however, I would have worked harder to connect with and learn from the experts at Consensus Group. Working virtually makes forming professional connections more difficult, but that’s the reality of the world we are in today.

If I were to talk to someone just entering into the field like I did, I would give the same advice I wish I had: Do not shy away from talking with the people you work with, as it is all an opportunity to learn. The experience you have in work such as this is very much “what you make of it.” This is an opportunity to meet interesting people and learn more about a certain field, so use that chance to the fullest. While I was able to do this with some success, I wish I had done so more.

I have learned a lot from my work this summer, but I can see now how I have only scratched the surface. I hope to dig far deeper in the future, and to use this as a jumping off point for further work in the field of conflict resolution.