#6 Looking Back to Move Forwards

In reflecting on my progress in defining a social issue, and collaborating to formulate a social action team, this scale provides a lot of insight on the great progress my team and I have made during this weekend. A lot of the most valuable work that occurred this weekend began on Friday night, when our “What’s the Story” cohort broke apart to have conversations based on issues that we were interested in. I met with two other “What’s the Story” students, that had some interest in the topic of animal cruelty and we compared the different areas of research that we had looked at in the past few weeks. The two other students really considered whether or not the issue of animal cruelty would be one that they would really want to research and in this questioning, we went to listen what other groups were talking about, and found ourselves in the middle of a discussion about race, and gender. During their conversation, my mind was really opened once again to the amount of possibilities that we had to promote change, and structure our film around.

By the end of the night, my social action team consisted of two other students, and one of them couldn’t make it to the retreat. The next morning, we really had the bulk of our questioning, and in-depth conversation that are prevalent in the Self-Direction 1.1 scale. I was really excited by the things that we discovered in our discussion, which surrounded Ruha Benjamin’s Keynote Address at the University of Vermont, and I can’t wait to see how we can apply her approach to social issues to our own project. In conclusion, by the end of the weekend, I had successfully created a pitch which I used in a consensus-seeking process to create a social action team for the year. Our group also worked this weekend to start considering what we need to do be as informed on this issue as possible, while also maintaining humility. 

Looking forwards to our work in the next few weeks, and managing my learning through the 1.2 on this scale, as someone who worked by myself last year, I am interested to see how my learning environment will be the same and different working with other group members. Otherwise, I am fairly used to, and comfortable with managing my learning in “What’s the Story”, and am really looking forwards to the work that we do in the next few weeks. I am also really excited in general to take advantage of the blended learning environment that WtS provides, and really enjoy working in the nontraditional classroom that is “What’s the Story”. By the end of the weekend, I know that as the seasons change, I am leaving the retreat with a reignited passion, and a readiness to learn.

Lena Ashooh

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