#8 Overnight 2 Reflection

The learning I am doing in What’s the Story includes skills that I will use for my entire life. Through each stage in this process there are challenges to overcome and skills to be learned.

In the first stage of this program (researching privately), I worked on researching many different topics that are of interest to me. I did research online, I triangulated my data to achieve accuracy, and I fell back on past experiences such as my semester in NC at the Outdoor Academy. I worked on clearly communicating my research and thoughts to people via blog posts.  I also had experience working with a camera and different microphones which was a completely new experience for me. During the first overnight I worked on collaboration, empathy, compromise, and communication while we were trying to group ourselves into common topics. It was a challenge to manage my time between school, sports, clubs, and What’s the Story. It was challenging for me to prioritize What’s the Story work at some points, but now that I have a topic it is easier.

In the second stage of this process, I did a lot of research surrounding farming in Vermont, climate change’s effects on farmers, and the food industry in general. I was much more engaged when I had a more focussed topic and I enjoyed deciding my own tasks and due dates. I researched online, in books, and between my partner and I, we contacted about 50 farms throughout Vermont for their input on questions we had about the future of Vermont farming. Together, we are very organized. We created an email account where we sent out all of our emails. It has helped us organized who has responded, who is working on answering and who needs a follow-up. In our Google Drive we have organized documents for each aspect of our research. Through this phase, I have worked on collaboration, work ethic, and organization. My team is working well on each of these aspects. We hold each other accountable and understand when life happens. We have done a TON of research and information. We have corresponding with many adults via email and we have met with a farmer. This is a very important skill to have in life. It is very helpful to have an experience conversing with adults (via phone or email or in person). The challenge we are facing is what story to take from all of our research. The topic is very broad. During this overnight, we pitched our story. After we pitched, we got honest feedback about our story. My biggest takeaway was that the story we pitched had an audience that was farmers, and that is angle that can get pretty tricky as farmers don’t want to be told what to do (especially by people who know pretty much nothing/ have no experience farming). Understanding and welcoming feedback is a great life skill to have, and it is very important in making your work as good as it can be. The hardship I am facing is the storytelling part of it, yet it will hopefully become clearer as the program progresses.

Overall, What’s the Story is pushing me to become a better inquirer, and a better communicator when it comes to stories. I am experiencing challenges and I am working to overcome them, and I am really enjoying studying in depth something I am so passionate about that my school doesn’t offer. It is great to work collaboratively with students who care about social issues, too!


Mary Nagy-Benson

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