What I’ve Learned so Far…

girl carrying white signage board

The learning I’ve done so far at What’s the Story is so much different than anything I’ve ever done before. While there are certainly guidelines, our learning is extremely self-directed. It has given me the opportunity to explore change in an issue that actually interests me. Working in such a committed group has also given me many new learning opportunities. It especially challenges the “teamwork” aspect of learning. My group mates and I have already come a long way from where we started. Not only have we come up with something we all think needs changing, but we’ve figured out the perspectives we want to show the issue from, and who we want it to affect. One big part of What’s the Story that has expanded my learning in many ways is how it’s formatted. We only meet up as an entire group once a month, but there is something new to do individually for our project every week. Each group is responsible for creating tasks for themselves each week, and figuring out how to manage their time. I have learned how to individually conduct research / story chasing for my project, without forgetting that every choice I make will affect my team. The shift between group work and individual work is something new that I haven’t gotten a chance to do a lot of in the past. This program allows you to be independent, as a group.

What’s the Story gives you the opportunity to put a social issue completely into your own hands, and allows you the chance to make the change that you want to see in the world. It’s such a hands-on experience, which includes so many different aspects of learning. It includes research – diving into your topic, and using the information you have to whittle down your story. It includes interviewing – taking the risk to put yourself out there, and reach out to people whom you may or may not know. It involves collaboration – throughout the whole process, you have a team of people you are working with. It involves sharing – along the way you share out what you’ve been working on, and you receive feedback. At the end of the program, we also do one final presentation of our documentaries. What’s the Story teaches you such an incredible combination of different skills, that all challenge every individual in different ways. To me, one of the most amazing things about the learning we do in What’s the Story is that everyone wants to be there. They don’t come because it’s a requirement. They don’t come because their grades depend on it. They come because they see something they want to change in the world. And they come with an open-minded, ready-to-learn attitude.

The things I’ve learned so far at What’s the Story are lessons I never would’ve been able to learn in a normal learning environment. Being around people who are also motivated and who also care makes such a big difference in how I learn. Every day I spend working on my project with my teammates makes me want to learn more. I am constantly intrigued and inspired by my peers and mentors in the program. I can’t wait to see where everyone’s projects will go.

Rae Kanarick

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