Expectations can be strange things. Everyone has them, these ‘strong beliefs that something will happen or be the case’. There are standard everyday expectations which can be somewhat subconscious, such as when you plan to meet a friend for lunch at 1pm and you expect them to be there as arranged at 1pm (or a little later, depending on which friend it is that you’re meeting). You don’t really think about this too much, you just ‘expect’ them to be there. Then at the other end of the scale there are the more personal and sometimes private expectations, the ones that end up right at the forefront of our minds and have the voice inside our heads reminding us not to get too carried away.
Sometimes the reality of a situation exceeds our expectations, and other times it lands nowhere near them. It’s easier said than done to not have any expectations at all. In fact I’d argue that it’s almost impossible, given that our brains never stop working and our imaginations can’t help but think about what might happen next.
When I moved to Laval over a month ago, the reality was fairly different to my expectations – but for the most part this meant good different (although we still haven’t found anywhere that is open for tea & cake on a Sunday afternoon)…
My work placement, however, was unfortunately not the good type of different. It didn’t reach the expectations that I had created based on what I had been told. To explain it briefly, the reality was that I was out (either commuting or at work) for almost twelve hours a day, barely using any French and in a job role that I found neither challenging nor interesting.
I began searching everywhere for other work placements, and after many ignored and some rejected email applications (it started to feel just like this time last year all over again…) a translation agency based in the centre of Laval got in touch. We met and they explained that, although they didn’t really need an intern, they were interested in what I could offer with English being my mother tongue, and they wanted to provide me with a more suitable placement for my year abroad.
I handed in my resignation with immediate effect, had a few days off while Leeds wrote up and signed the next lot of paperwork, and then started my new placement – all in the space of one working week.
I’m doing a lot of translations myself, as well as some proofreading and emailing clients, working in a lovely modern office alongside French colleagues.
Regardless of expectations, if something isn’t working out for you the least you can do is try to change it. The ‘you don’t alter a Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera’ motto may hold true for a crazed bride at war with her best friend, but it certainly isn’t true for everyday life. Alter the dress and make it fit you perfectly.