The Final Blog Post – Farewell

Through this past year with WtS I have learned more about myself and the people I want to work with. I have had the privilege of working with many amazing people and I have learned more than words can express. I have learned new social skills but also skills on how to be myself. Looking back I have grown, been challenged, and learned tremendously through What’s the Story. Some things have been hard but I have learned how to overcome these challenges and use them positively moving forward.

Self Direction: I learned how to be independent and take initiative for my work. I learned how to push myself without being asked, work efficiently, get past challenges, and I have learned how to reach out to others. A challenge I had with this was with my interviews. I was sometimes nervous to reach out to people because I didn’t know them or I didn’t know what their reaction would be. Taking the step of putting myself and our project out there was one of the hardest things I had to do myself. I was part of a group, my responsibility was to contact certain people When I was in the first stages of my documentary and I was at a conference with a well known woman named Carol Tomlinson. I had to take notes, create my own questions, and speak in front of a crowd. I had to push myself to go outside of my comfort zone to set up an interview with her and be myself no matter how nervous I was. The next learning I will do in this area is to continue to step outside of my box and work hard, stay motivated, and be curious.

Responsible and Involved Citizenship: Through What’s the Story, I have grown as a learner. I can now stay very open to other people’s feedback and ideas but can still be an active member of a group. I have become more confident in myself and have learned how to work with others to combine our strengths and challenges. In the beginning of the year I was challenged to stay open minded to other people’s ideas. I sometimes wanted to take control of the situation instead of letting other people share their ideas as well. One time, our group received a piece of feedback on reorganizing the structure of our documentary. My group member and I took this feedback to look at how we could make this one part easier to understand. By doing this we learned how one of us could look at the fine details and the other could make the edits necessary. In the future I want to be able to more clearly identify my strengths and challenges from the beginning to help make stronger my challenges and stay strong in my strengths.

Informed and Integrated Thinker: I have grown in this area by being able to combine ideas to create a broader understanding. I have learned how to understand people in different ways. Everyone has a different way to say something and so seeing similarities is really important when creating a documentary. When my group was interviewing different people we had to look through the footage and create a definition that everyone agreed with. This was both something I learned and something I grew with. This was a big challenge because sometimes one persons explanation of the same thing was much more clear to one of us whereas the other persons was to the other. I remember talking to my group and one person had shared their idea in an interview, I took one message away from it but my group member took a different one. I think being able to synthesize all of the concepts or take aways mentioned helps provide further understanding of this ever so confusing topic or Proficiency Based Grading. I hope to learn how to better see the connections between ideas and I can look for these connections in things aside from documentaries.

Clear and Effective Communication: I learned a lot about how to be organized. When crafting our documentary everything needed to be very intentional and make sense from someone else’s perspective. We needed to be able to have our documentary tell a story of something that is still a story taking place. With a concept so new as proficiency based grading we were forced to grow as learners to this new idea and to be able to share this topic with others. This was also a challenge because the organization or way of communication may make sense in different ways to different people. I for example like things in order of other similar things in comparison whereas someone else may want to hear from one person and then another, not seeing the same person in the documentary multiple times. When we were receiving feedback from groups some mentioned the the way it was organized really worked whereas to others it didn’t. I think a key part of clear and effective communication is being able to interpret things differently, stay open to other people’s views. I think some future learning I could do is to organize things like you would a story. I want to be able to better allow someone to share a story when they are speaking and not have it as confined as it was in some interviews. I think communication is at the center of learning and creating ways that makes sense to everyone is very important. I try to keep an open mind and allow things to speak for themselves.

 

Unexpected Learning: If in ten years someone asked be what I learned from my year with What’s the Story I would tell them that I learned two main things. I learned how to be myself, and I learned the power of teamwork. These two simple things, that vary from person to person will help everyone be successful.

I learned how to be myself. A very powerful statement, a statement that everyone should be able to say at some point. Through What’s the Story I learned that if everyone is who they are inside and doesn’t care what other people think that they have been given a huge power. The power of accepting yourself. Someone shared the quote with me “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” To me this quote is telling us that we need to do what our hearts tell us, not what other people think is “cool”. When I was at retreats at What’s the Story I got to hear amazing stories of who people are, I got to experience people being who they wanted to be, not worried about being judged. We were all creating documentaries. We all were motivated and working hard. Without knowing it I was putting myself in a place that I felt safe in.  I learned that it is okay to be me and that I should stay myself.

I learned the power of teamwork. A quote I always think about with this is “There is no such thing as a self made person, with the help of others is how we reach our goals.” Sometimes I think that I am better off doing things by myself my way but then I have end up working with other people and together we can work much more effectively. At the beginning of my What’s the Story year I thought that I could create a documentary all by myself. Nope, after the year of hard work I learned that I in fact needed my mentor, Annie, I needed Mr. O’Leary to help with his magical tech powers, I needed my partner to work things out, I needed interviewees. So my thought solo project turned into a group of about 16. Working with other people allowed our documentary to take flight. My documentary turned into ours, not just my partner, mentor, and I but everyone involved. It took a team to reach this goal. I had to learn that it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to work with others. “Individually we are one drop, together we make an ocean.” The metaphor I think of with this is there is a boat (the goal), one drop of water won’t get the boat anywhere, the boat needs an ocean, it needs a path together we make up that ocean or that path. Learning to trust others and put yourself with people who work hard and have high expectations allows everyone to get the boat where it needs to go faster and in a happier place.

 

We learn how to be ourselves when we are with other people who are themselves. Thank you to Bill, Tim, Annie, Josie, and the entire 2018 What’s the Story Cohort for such a great year!

 

Lindsay Beer

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