Final Blog Post: The journey to and continuing of “Insame” and Unified Minds


Thinking back to the beginning of this course, I feel as though I have grown so much in these four pillars but also in so many other areas not included in these four pillars. In terms of self-direction, this was probably the pillar I was most nervous about, but I feel as though I have succeeded in it. Since this is such a “hands-off” course (that is a good thing), I knew it would mean learning to manage my time to get blog posts in on time, to meet deadlines and create the best possible end product. I uploaded all of the blog posts on time, I completed my interviews on time, which I set up by myself or with the other group members, and throughout the process of editing, I would read our mission statement to make sure the footage we were putting in our documentary met the goal of our mission statement. In terms of managing my learning, I feel successful because it is very easy to learn a lot from this course through our topic, and what we learn from other students and teachers that are part of the course. We are given time to reflect on our learning just as we are doing in this blog post, and as a result, we get to really absorb what we have learned and why it is beneficial for us. We have taken the feedback given by our mentor and the other students to adjustor film to be the best it can be. I will use this course and experience to work on all the areas of managing my work, staying focused and using feedback in many areas of my life. I am doing an independent study and a lot of the same goals are necessary to be successful in that. I can take what I experienced in this course to be more successful in that self-motivating class. I had a family emergency come up a few weeks ago, and my group members and I worked on how to still get our film, “Insame” done by the retreat. This has to do mostly with group work, but it also relates to managing my learning and meeting deadlines time at a tricky time in my life.

I have had countless conversations in my classes at MUHS, with community members, and family members about my topic. Everyone is very curious about my topic and is interested in a discussion about it, so it is easy to educate them about the correct language and give them an awareness of the stigma surrounding mental health through these conversations. These were some of the goals in our mission statement. Just raising attention about the stigma in a conversation will make an impact on how a person thinks about mental health in the future. I gave a speech about mental health to my history class and lead a discussion with my english class about this topic. I heard a shift in the way people were talking about mental health after the discussion and speech. This shift was very cool and rewarding to see. Additionally our film and social media pages are also going to be around to help continue the change we are making. I will continue to talk about mental health with people when I get the opportunity and advertise our pages. I have learned what it is like to have a vision and have to alter it a bit to fit the vision of the entire group. I have had to compromise and take the time to collaborate with everyone to finish our film which is time consuming and challenging because everyone is on different schedules. We made it work though, and that was rewarding. With all this reflection time given to us at retreats, I feel as though I have become even more self aware than I was to begin with. This is an important skill because it makes it easier to see what we are taking away from the course if we are reflecting on what we have learned.

My ability to connect topics and interviews to help make a stronger point by using one interview as the justification for the other in our film (Gloria explaining Heather’s story) shows my abilities as an integrative thinker. We used our vision statement to create and develop the film. The statement and our goal is shown in our film through the interviews and information provided. We want to educate people on the appropriate language and this is shown throughout our film and it is on our social media pages. I think we successfully achieved our goals. Additionally I feel very informed about mental health and I have shared my thoughts with many people who were interested to hear about the topic.

In discussions I have had in other settings, I notice my ability to contribute information growing. In english class at MUHS we have many discussions about texts and films and I feel like I can voice my opinions and thoughts clearly and concisely. I would visit and talk with my mentor multiple times a week and email him to keep him informed on what’s going on with our group. Additionally I would write to group members if a problem came up or simply to keep them informed on what’s going on. I feel like we have really told a story and through this, conveyed our message about mental health. We have stayed organized with our editing and within our film. I feel like we have made our purpose clear through using our mission statement in our film to make our point. I feel like I have grown as a communicator through the team work in our group around our film and social media pages. I think these communication skills will remain important in other high school classes but will also be important in college just as all of the other four pillars are. We have learned these pillars by working on social issues occurring in our lives right now and as a result, stayed engaged in the work we are creating now instead of being worried about what is to come next in the course but as a result, what we learned will be very helpful in the years to come.

Thinking about coming into this class, I knew I would be working on a social issue and creating an end-product, I assumed a documentary, and how to create this end-product. A little while in, I knew I wanted it to be about mental health. Typically I am a focused, driven person who gets their work done and has a specific vision for how it is going to look and it ends up looking that way. I had a vision for what this end-product would look like, but I have learned that with a project like this and working on a collaborative team, it is impossible to pinpoint the final result, what it will look like exactly, and how we are going to make it look like that. From this, I have learned flexibility, compromise, team-work, and having to rethink ideas. I didn’t ever think it was going to be easy, but I did think it would be easier than it was. I feel like the challenges were where I learned a lot. When I was stuck on an interview that I was editing and didn’t know where to go, it took me a good deal of time before I found the footage I needed to have it make sense. From this, it was easier to get unstuck next time when I fell into another situation. I learned to be okay with the end-prodct looking a bit different than I expected and telling a bit of a different story. Throughout the process, I learned to be okay with not knowing what it would look like and how it would exactly take shape as a result of working with the team members to get their ideas into the film. I am very much a leader and I learned to step back and work side-by-side with the other group members and not do all the thinking even though at points I did lead. My other group members also took turns leading. I also learned how to keep some of my group members interested and engaged when they may have otherwise just been sitting listening to Maisie and I talking. I have become good friends with them and I think they feel included in our group and end product. It is very satisfying to feel like I accomplished something and have started making a change on a social issue I have grown to care so strongly about. It feels especially gratifying because at times it felt so challenging and at times it was hard to get motivated but in the end I did and it paid off.

It was also very satisfying to create our group’s name, Unified Minds, and watch our social action team develop into a more polished group on social media and on our website.

I also feel like I have learned so much about the other social issues that other groups have looked into and started to better understand them. Especially the groups: Breaking Binary, Smashing Sexism and Education Reform. I have had conversations with them and watched the documentaries they have made and learned so much about their topics and I think this is very cool. I am so grateful to have been a part of Whats the Story? this year I really feel like I have learned so much about my topic, the four pillars and many other things. I can’t wait to see where the groups go. Thank you to everyone who made this course so fun and wonderful!




Grace Widelitz

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