March Retreat: You Decide the Change You Want to Make

Most people, until age 18, just go through the regular education system. They study, take tests, and forget what they’ve learned because, in the traditional classroom, the most important thing is passing. You forget what you’ve learned as soon as you get your test back. The point is not that you learned something important that could help your future. You’re not put in real-world situations and you don’t learn skills that could help your future.

In What’s the Story?, however, you’re learning skills that will help your future by making a difference in your community and future. You’re given the freedom to do anything you want, without someone hovering over your shoulder. You are in control.

In a traditional classroom, teachers don’t want you to fail; What’s the Story? mentors, however, know that when you fail, you learn. When I first started What’s the Story?, I was so overwhelmed because I continuously made mistakes and struggled and no one told me what to do. Mentors provide support and advice, but they don’t tell you what to do. It’s up to you and your group members to make the change you want to make.

Some parts of the process can be terrifying. Emailing and interviewing people, especially adults is extremely intimidating. I’m a very shy and reserved person, so I didn’t thrive in the interview process, I preferred hiding behind the camera and filming. But that’s the amazing thing about this program. Because you are a part of a team, you can divide the roles based on what people are most comfortable with/do best. At the same time, however, you sometimes have to step out of your comfort zone and do something like interview or film, but you develop important skills by doing so.

Even if you’re an introvert, like me, there are plenty of ways to flourish in What’s the Story?. You could take control of editing the documentary or making the website. There are endless ways to help make a difference in your community, and while you should still try things that you are not completely comfortable with, there are many ways introverts thrive in this program.

Not everyone should take What’s the Story?. It’s a lot of work, and some people can’t handle it. You dedicate a large portion of your time to it and it can be very overwhelming sometimes. It also requires a lot of complex and creative thinking. You’re not always taken seriously because you’re “just a student” and it can be very discouraging. But What’s the Story? is perfect for anyone creative and motivated. If you’re dedicated and not afraid of dealing with hardships, What’s the Story? is an amazing and rewarding course.

You decide what you want to do. You decide the change you want to make. And you decide how you are going to make that change. What’s the Story? not only provides lessons for real-life situations, but opportunities to become the change your community needs. The process of creating a documentary and making a change is a journey, and I am forever grateful for the incredibly supportive What’s the Story? team for helping me through it.

Emily Pecsok

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