1. Embrace the Awkward
The residency is a whirlwind experience that should challenge you to think outside of your comfort zone. I know that sounds scary, but believe me, it’s not that bad. You’ll be in a room full of people that have only “met” online before, but never had the chance to see one another face-to-face. It’s a little bit like meeting for a first date after talking with someone on social media for months. Awkward! That’s why I can’t stress enough that you should push past the discomfort that you might face and see what’s around the next conversation, the next question, the next feedback session. You will be better for it.
2. Be Transparent
This goes hand-in-hand with tip number one. You will have moments where it may be easier to give the flippant response or allow the discussion to pass you by. I challenge you to be open with a room full of virtual strangers. Simply put, if you allow it, your residency can be a place to gain a better sense of self and others. This is a gift that you can take with you into any situation that you find yourself.
3. Speak One-on-One
They are a source of knowledge and experience who also happen to be truly interesting people. They are approachable, so it won’t be difficult. Just don’t assume that they’ll come to you.
4. Give Yourself Time
You’ll learn a lot in a very short amount of time. It is quite a bit to digest and for the most part, your greatest takeaways won’t become apparent until after you leave. You’ll likely spend the rest of the course trying to unravel everything that you’ve learned and then trying to figure out how to put it in writing. Everyone that I know of who has gone through the program has said the same thing: It’s OK to take a few days to decompress.
5. Network, Network, Network
Sometimes you lose sight of just how large a community you have at your fingertips. In every walk of life and at every stage of the career spectrum: C-suite executives all the way to recent college graduates, all of us are students sharing a space for several days. You’ll enjoy meals together, small group sessions, large group sessions, and hopefully a little laughter. Did I mention the food? Use this time to really create strong connections. It will serve you well when everyone goes their separate ways.
As with many things, this opportunity is what you decide to make of it. I encourage you to take advantage of what I have found to be the highlight of the program so far!