Nov Retreat; Changing Topic and New Beginings

The November retreat at Common Ground was as productive as it could have been in terms of developing my topic and my direction. After spending the morning and afternoon observing presentations and giving my own I realized that I was very open to receiving a variety of topics, not just the one I came to talk about. When we were asked to rate our love for our topic I rated myself a 5 out of ten, realizing that I was passionate about the story I wanted to tell about Addiction, but I could also find passion in another topic and bring what I have to offer to a different issue.

I decided to sit in on the conversations being held between the students interested in Immigration and cultural issues to see if I would be inspired by their ideas. Right away two separate groups found themselves within the topic of Immigration; one passionately ready to tell the stories of migrant farm hands, the other choosing to put it’s effort towards the education system and cultural relations within it. I felt a pull towards the second group and together we immediately started a flow of meaningful conversation. Collectively we felt a direction and a purpose to pursue. We talked about the importance of cultural variation and how diversity enriches a community and has the ability to enhance the education of every learner. The ideas came instantly to us and the conversation felt so natural. In the first 10 minutes we had filled two pages of notes and even started to develop a list of possible contacts relating to our topic. It was clear that this was a group who could work well together and accomplish great things. I realized that the quality and success of a project does not only depend on whether or not you’re passionate about a topic, but also the chemistry between you and the people you work with. I know that I’ve found a group I can succeed with.

Day two went just as well. We’ve set a productive pace and we keep gong strong. We exchanged information and set up platforms for communication, reviewed blogs relevant to our topic, created research source documents, a more complete list of contacts, a schedule for goals and online meetings and talked more in depth about our long term goals in preparation for the December retreat. I am confident that we will be well prepared for our next visit to Common Ground and that the weeks in between now and then will be a time of great growth for our topic and our social action team.

This weekend was an overall great, eye-opening experience, I was blown away by the amazing place, people and food. So much progress was made in less than a few short days, the atmosphere here is truly incredible. I’m leaving today feeling confident and capable, so far in love with where my new direction is taking me.

Kati Tolgyesi

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