“Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do.” ― Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily
One of the many quirks of a Shaver’s Creek internship is the responsibility and privilege of choosing a new name for yourself. If your thought process is in any way similar to mine, you’d probably think, “Easy enough! I’ll just pick one eventually.” From the date of my first interview to the end of my first week here, I just kept telling myself “It’ll come to me” without putting in any actual effort into making a decision.
The blank stares my coworkers gave me after I halfheartedly mentioned my feeble suggestions was more than enough confirmation that I was not going about this the right way. (To be fair, they were no more than fleeting thoughts to begin with.) After my first few attempts fell flat, I tried analyzing why I was even trying to pick these sub-par names in the first place: Trains of thought such as “Oh that’s my favorite mineral, simple enough” just weren’t cutting it.
Desperately in need of a name and past the point of being able to procrastinate any longer, I had no option other than to sit down at my dining room table and refuse to leave until i had come up with some sort of solution to my current state of anonymity.
So there I sat, paging through lists upon lists of nature names designed for hippie parents and their quirky offspring. For reasons unbeknownst to myself, my mind lingered on the name “Tiger Lily”, but for no real reason other than liking the cadence of it. Not wanting to go on prosody alone, I decided to delve a little deeper and learn more about tiger lilies. Just scratching the surface provided me with a plethora of reasons as to why I can relate personally to the sunset-colored flower.
As I flipped through tabs of various websites all about tiger lilies, it suddenly dawned on me: this internship isn’t about reiterating what I already know and that’s why my initial passive approach failed so miserably: if I try to tackle this summer in the same fashion as I did originally with my name, my list of accomplishments at the end will just be a reiteration of everything I have already done in my life. This whole experience is supposed to be about finding the drive within myself to break out of the intellectual rut college has caused me to create for myself. Taking the easy way out of things and relying solely on what I already know will result in a lackluster result. What I need to learn here is how to be open to new experiences and allow myself to learn for the sake of performing well.
My first four weeks at Shaver’s Creek could be compared to be standing out on the edge of a cliffside. At first, I could not even describe how terrified I was feeling: the thought of designing every facet of my internship made my entire body freeze up. But now that I’ve been standing on this cliff for some time and adjusting to the view, I’m starting to realize that I can accomplish great feats here if I just trust in myself and my ability to survive the fall (or to move away from the cliff analogy, tackle tasks in a way that is not analogous to my comfort zone). Although this feeling may seem to deviate incredibly from picking a name, somehow in my head it all ties together.
BONUS: Fun Facts About Tiger Lilies (Lilium lancifolium):
— There is a superstition that smelling one will give you freckles.
— It’s a symbol for wealth and prosperity.
— The flower essence helps in suppressing aggressive tendencies in individuals.
— It has six stamens, a long style, and a three-lobed stigma.