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Our program director mentioned during training that the week after she leaves Orange County is the week that problems typically start to arise. We just finished that week, and I’m starting to understand what she meant.

Eureka starts on Monday, so in the past seven days we have been moving supplies, finalizing power points, going over schedules, and generally getting prepared for camp. It has also been a very stressful week, with everything from trouble at work to an earthquake shaking things up.

Most of the cohort works together at Girls Inc, where we also work with the larger Eureka team. This week we ran into the problem of miscommunication at work, both because we are managing ourselves without the help from our program director now and because of the general state of chaos that camp being right around the corner brings to the team. Within the cohort, we were frustrated about not being listened to and about having issues come up so close to the start of camp. At the same time, the surprise of waking up to an earthquake shaking our apartments was on everyone’s minds.

I kept thinking, throughout the week, about how we could have been better prepared for this. It frustrated me that earthquake safety had not been on the agenda for DukeEngage Academy and that the issues at Girls Inc had not been addressed during our first two weeks of training. During our team bonding activities with Girls Inc, we learned that most of the cohort falls under the “conscientious” (the planner and detail-oriented) and “steady” (the considerate and team player) personality types. Within our cohort, we have a really good dynamic by now. We all like to ask a lot of questions and plan out how we approach each week. However, our ability to deal with unexpected situations is something, it turns out, that we need to improve. It took some work for us to express our issues and fix them rather than keeping them among ourselves.

By the end of the week, we were able to have a productive discussion at work to launch into next week on a better note. Also, we have done quite a lot of research about earthquake preparation now. There are still some things we are going to have to work out as we start camp, but we also became really proactive about figuring out how to do that towards the end of the week. What this week has really taught me is that there is power in working together to stand up for ourselves and that it is always possible to turn what looks like an impossible situation into something better.