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The Art of Growth: A Year of Reflection

by Sydney Ricks, Junior Learning Engineer, VPG


Ashley Cheung and Sydney Ricks

As we approach the upcoming year and I near the completion of my college journey, it feels only fitting to reflect on the lessons and successes I’ve gained so far from this past year. In my short time with Virtual Patent Gateway, I've acquired numerous invaluable, lifelong lessons along the way.


While a sense of belonging is often sought in the workplace, my role, though defined by a specific title and responsibilities, has evolved into that of a 'jack of all trades', with expertise in certain areas. The initial intimidation of training has equipped me with a balance between attention to detail and creativity.


As part of the generation that grew alongside advancing technology, my early exposure to content consumption on platforms like YouTube has proven valuable in a professional context. Inspired by this, I ventured into content creation, discovering the potential to profit from my hobbies and passions. Eager to share my insights with VPG, I found a shared sense of fulfillment in contributing to a dynamic and creative environment. Reflecting on my experiences with Virtual Patent Gateway has illuminated not only my personal growth but also the valuable skills I've acquired. Navigating the responsibilities of being a student while working part-time presented its challenges, yet within this dynamic, I found appreciation for the company's flexibility and my personalized role. This environment has not only made my responsibilities more fulfilling but has also provided a platform for developing crucial skills such as time management, communication, prioritization, and adaptability. The exposure to inspiring women leaders has deepened my understanding of effective leadership, prompting me to question how I, as an aspiring leader, can empower others to contribute meaningfully to a shared vision. True leadership extends beyond the mere delegation of tasks; it is fundamentally grounded in fostering trust and empowerment. The key lesson I've learned is trusting in my ability to deliver high-quality work. I discovered that my fear of scrutiny seeped into my performance and self-perception, causing overpreparation and avoidance of responsibility due to the fear of failure and disappointing others. This perfectionism results in overwhelming stress and usually underwhelming outcomes. As I prepare for my career, I am working on balancing standards and confidence, recognizing the expectation to deliver substantial results. I am confident in my capabilities and proven qualifications for this task. I once received guidance that being in a role, such as this, signifies a purposeful placement, and any lapse in maintaining the expected standards would not only reflect on me but also on the leadership overseeing the system, in turn underscoring the trust vested in me to carry out my responsibilities.


Pink flamingo toy
My animal persona, “Fauna”, gifted to me from Steph!

In a season of thankfulness and appreciation, I’d like to thank my friend Stephanie (Chika), for introducing me to Ashley and Virtual Patent Gateway. Through my time, I was able to learn a great deal and discover skills necessary to thrive in a career environment. Thank you, Ashley, for your guidance through my journey and the opportunity to make an impact.

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