On-the-Job: Reflections of a MITIS Scholar

It’s June and I’m at my most unproductive state. I mean, it’s summer (like, June and July are summer extensions) and I have all the freedom to be a useless and lazy human being. Plus, the last school year has drained my battery level and I guess, my mind is charging. So, I’m not really a bad person, right?

Well technically, I’m not really doing nothing because based on one of my favorite articles that we read in English class, “Doing Nothing Is Something.” Also, if doing something means waking up early in the morning and going home late in the afternoon after doing some tasks, then I’m doing something.

As a scholar, it’s my duty to be of help to the school. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job but I hope I’m actually being helpful and not just being a usual cause of annoyance to my dear friends. But every summer break, we go to school so we could help the admin and staff to fix all the things that are needed to be fixed in the school. We call it “OJT” or “On-The-Job Training.” Honestly, I don’t know why we call it that because I’ve always thought that it’s for those who’re training for the jobs that they will be soon acquiring. Obviously, I’m not going to be part of the labor force anytime soon because I’m just 15 (a not so legal age). But thinking about it, it’s really OJT because we are training under the supervision of the school administrators.

With their guidance, we are usually in charge of the library, arranging all the books and their accession numbers. Honestly, I used to like that task. The listing of books, checking their call numbers online, and using the gods’ gift to all librarians: the Dewey cutter, they used to make me really feel like a pro. But of course, doing the same thing again and again bores me. So this year, I decided to take on the job as the assistant in the admin.

After a day, I’ve finished retyping all the documents and all the tasks that I was asked to do. I just felt like I had to finish all the tasks and I fought all the urges to be lazy. Shockingly, I was able to.

For the past years, I’ve been going to school every summer with the purpose of finishing my tasks. It’s always on my mind that I have to finish all these tasks so (a) my fellow trainees aka my friends don’t hate me, (b)our supervisor doesn’t give me a life changing PEP Talk, and (c) I can tell myself that I actually did something.

However, thinking about it, finishing all the tasks isn’t actually the purpose of this training. Well, of course, it’s one of the reasons why we’re here. But this time, I want it to be different. I want to finish my tasks not because I was asked to but because I really want to. I want to give myself a sense of responsibility regarding all the tasks that were laid out. I don’t want it to be the usual stressful tasks and the feeling of meeting deadlines every week. This break, I want to learn.

I want to learn the littlest and the most abstract skills. I want to learn how to cut the papers properly using a paper cutter (I’ve been trying to learn this for like, 3 years now) and I want to learn how to find my purpose in every task that I do. I believe that trainings like this is where we find the essential kind of learning. It’s where we learn to communicate with people and to take on tasks without hesitance. It’s where we learn to be more skilled, to be better.

As someone who’s very good at doing nothing, I’m spending half of my summer break in school to do things. And I can say that those things are the things that will make me better. And with that, I’m very privileged.

Contributed by: Myra Joanna Arce