Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a grand Manor, nestled on a hill overlooking a small, charming village. A majestic building whose stones blended into the English landscape surrounding her, the Manor was breathtaking to any guest who walked through the large, double wooden doors. Lush gardens, oversized state rooms, elegant suites and sophisticated architecture defined the Manor as “perfectly grand.”

And that she was.

Just like every fairytale has heroes, prince charmings, magical characters and plot twists, so does the tale of Harlaxton Manor. If walls could talk we would discover the many secrets absorbed by the nearly 200 year old structure — a structure that thousands would describe as “home.” From grumpy Manor guards and servants, to hobbits and artists who wander the corridors of the estate, the Manor has an elaborate story to tell.

An elaborate story that changes every six months.

The Harlaxton College Spring 2017 semester is a fairytale like no other. Just like the past students have a unique story tailored to their time abroad, so does the class that just departed. And while one rarely lives the Harlaxton fairytale twice, I am fortunate to have two Harlaxton Manor stories.

And I have to admit that my Harlaxton 2.0 fairytale was better than my first.

I told myself not to get emotionally invested in the lives of the Spring 2017 students when I arrived on January 1 as the new media coordinator. There wasn’t really an excuse for me to build relationships and connect with the students. My job required me to live behind a camera, distancing myself from the conversations of those around me in an effort to solely document their Harlaxton fairytale. But here we are, at the conclusion of the Spring 2017 semester and I find myself struggling with the now empty Manor. The floors creak, the silence is deafening and the anticipation of running into students around each corner is never satisfied.

The Spring 2017 semester was one that I found full of laughs, tears, drama and stress. A conglomerate of emotions that would make the old Nolan scream. But with the many laughs, tears and drama shared among the Spring 2017 students, comes opportunities for personal growth, bonding and developments of dear relationships. So while the students saw me as the sassy, sarcastic media intern, I saw them as marvelous individuals who taught me many things throughout the last four months. Individuals that I grew to care deeply about, despite the sarcastic and un-invested façade I often displayed.

Shout out to the students for teaching me things about myself that I didn’t think to discover at the Manor. I was challenged as their residence assistant, I was enlightened by their independence and courage, and I grew to be protective of their vulnerability to the world. I ended up caring about them to the point that I almost hated it. Hindsight is 20/20 and now that the students are gone I wish I had the opportunity to get to know each of them even more. But at Harlaxton we have a way of never saying goodbye because we all know we will reunite in the future. So I end by thanking the class of Spring 2017 for enriching my Harlaxton 2.0 fairytale and look forward to seeing you again to continue our newly found friendships.

And they all lived happily ever after.

—NM

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“Now that we’re friends, you’re fired.” — My Boss

Probably not something you want to hear from your boss. Especially after you secretly video her on Snapchat singing Karaoke for the world to see. Fortunately, she was only joking (I think.)

However, there’s a lesson to be learned here. The word “fired” is gut-wrenching to hear. But often people my age assume they will never hear the words “you’re fired” (not a nod to Trump’s ‘The Apprentice”). Millennials (stereotypically) can be over confident in their abilities to successfully complete a job. Let’s refer to the American concept that “everyone gets a trophy,” an idea to spare the feelings of children who blatantly suck at something. An idea that provides encouragement while simultaneously surrounding kids in a bubble from reality.

TBH, I’m one of those over-confident millennials. And it’s taken post-graduate internships and jobs to make me realize I’m good at what I do, but I haven’t mastered the art of my profession… Yet.   And I’m willing to bet most my age haven’t, either.

I promise I’m anything but wise. I only just graduated from college myself. However, I’ve faced many moments of stress and panic now that I’m a big kid. From difficult tasks at my job to planning what my next big move is, I’ve realized that the real learning starts after school.

While it’s taken me some time to realize that I’m truly not ‘untouchable’ after years of being spoon fed by teachers, mentors, club advisers and college professors (like many who partake in the US educational system), I’m fortunate to have had some recent wake up calls before reality slapped me in the face, leaving a permanent mark.

The challenge for me (and I’m sure for many millennials) is that I struggle admitting when I make a mistake. Just like the word “fired,” people sometimes also fear the word “mistake.” So I’ll spare you from saying that mistakes are life’s greatest lessons because deep down we all know there is some truth to the phrase. But once you develop the courage to tell your boss or colleagues you’ve made a mistake and need help is when you start your training in mastering your profession. The reality is that you will most likely never hear the words “you’re fired” so long as you make the transparent effort to do a job well done.

Just don’t snapchat your boss singing karaoke.

Fortunately, I still have my job and my boss still considers me a friend.

Still employed,

—NM

“No, you actually do not spell my name Knowland.” — Me

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“No, you actually do not spell my name Knowland.” — Me

Far too often I receive a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop with my name misspelled. But as an avid fan of caffeine I simply smile and say thank you because my only concern at that point is if the barista remembered to put an extra shot of espresso in my venti skinny Flat White with coconut milk. If they did forget my extra shot of espresso though… (well, that’s a rant for another blog post.)

I digress.

I’m Nolan Miles — A 23-year-old recent college graduate wandering the UK as a media intern in search of my next big move. Whether that be professional dog walking in Sydney, serving coffee at a local shop in Florence or (preferably) working at a global public relations and advertising agency, I’m both #blessed and #stressed for the new adventures and uncertainties that lie ahead.

“#MilesTraveled is my new hashtag” — Also me

I should start by warning any readers that this blog is yet another amidst the millions of others online written by millennials to document their adventures or mediocre life (I’m probably considered a member of the latter.) I should also warn any readers that this blog will probably be filled with millennial lingo, trends and other things that will embarrass me when I look back on it ten years from now.

With that being said, Miles Traveled is a blog about working abroad and any ‘ah-ha” moments and interesting occurrences that happen while traveling the European continent.

Also, yes. I did come up with the hashtag and I’m admittedly very proud of it. #MilesTraveled #blessed #happy #hashtag

“Are you an interior designer?” — The Pinterest followers I don’t have

No, but sometimes I wish I was. I’m a public relations new pro working as the media coordinator for a study abroad program called Harlaxton College. I do have a passion for interior design, but I also have a passion to write and produce digital content. It’s interesting how well writing and a sense of design go together. So don’t be surprised if you also see content about my other passions, like interior design, certain social issues and gummy bears.

Without further ado, please enjoy any future posts from yours truly!

Knowland

JK, Nolan Miles (—NM)