The Last Overnight

Self-Direction: Looking back at this past year of being a part of what’s the story, I can say that I have grown as both a learner and a person. I have learned to ask more questions, and build questions, to keep on top of my learning, and to believe that what I’m learning will help me in the long run. I have also learned to accept feedback as a gift, rather than harsh criticism. I am already a fairly responsible person, but I have learned a new kind of responsibility. A responsibility that teaches you to care about something more, something that’s unlike anything else. 

Responsible and Involved Citizenship: Teamwork was not one of my strong suits, because I found that I liked not relying on anybody better. But, I have learned that teamwork is more than relying on someone, it is trusting someone, and understanding them enough to work alongside them for more than two weeks. Also, I learned how to analyze the importance of something, whether it be a piece of information that could go on the website instead of a link, or post on social media. I learned that positive change doesn’t just happen, and you can’t ask for it either. You have to make positive change, whether it takes a month or a year. 

Informed & Integrative Thinker: As the year continued on, I found myself asking if I really needed to put that information in one of my projects, or shorten it by leaving that piece out. I was analyzing evidence to support my claims and figuring out whether it really did support it or not. Also, I found myself systematically placing things and ideas in my mind, deciding whether they were important enough to think about. I think this comes from our project and the need to weed out unimportant information and claims. No matter what we were doing, we had to decide if it was worth working on versus something that might be more important in the future. 

Clear and Effective Communication: Throughout our project, communication was one of the things that helped us most. Without it our documentary would probably be a lot different, and website missing a few things. We all had ideas and input on things, listening to each other and figuring out how to work that into our project. Whether it was keeping an interview, or creating a new page on our website, we all helped in some way, even if it was small. Also, organization was a big help, keeping our project in line and on time. We had to organize dates to work, organize information we thought was important to the project. Even if I was already organized, I now have a new level of organization, and work ethic.


Years from now, I will probably be in highschool or college, and I will think “That was an interesting year,” I guess it did change me a lot, and I learned a bunch of new things, like 20 of the gazillion gender terms, but how did I really change. I met some really cool people, and got to spend 4 weekends in the middle of nowhere eating doritos and pizza. I also learned how to use a video camera and I learned what a lavalier mic was(that was really life changing),  but as a person I did not change, more like my inner self decided to join the party. I realized almost six months later, that I was not different from when this all started, but rather I was more me, I knew more about who I was. And even now, I know who I am in a deeper sense. I am not shy, but introverted, I am not short, but vertically challenged, I do not want to change the world, but create the world that I wish to live in, even though I like eating, cooking suits me better, and though I may have quite a few issues, ranging from food sensitivities to anxiety, I am unique in my own way, and all of this was from being immersed in a culture of uniqueness during what’s the story. Though, sadly, I will not be able to do what’s the story next year, if I did, I would only be more of myself, probably figuring out my own little secret to life, because eventually we all figure who we are, one way or another.

Now for the story of my learning:

Retreats are fun, mildly stressful, long, but worth it. The first retreat was especially stressful, seeing as I was to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and recite a speech about issues I was concerned about, all without breaking down with fear. It was going well, then I lost my place, and for the longest 5 seconds of my life, I had no idea what I was doing. It did all work out, and I finished strong, getting my point across. Then for forming of groups. It was like never ending hurdles. All I really wanted at that point was to magically time travel to when our groups were made, but I had to learn to conquer my anxiety and actually talk to people. So I did, and instead of pursuing wage gap, I was thrown onto the gender train, and I was in for the ride of my life. Fast forward two weeks, and I still had no idea what I was doing. Should I be doing a lot more work? Should I procrastinate and not do work? Nobody knows, but I continued on, blogging my heart out and attempting to make a script. I learned that not everything you hope to enjoy is easy, like writing a script. In hindsight, it seems easy, but then you actually start making one, and it’s just downhill from there. Once again I am fast forwarding to our second retreat, where I continued to master the art of talking to strangers. I realised that in fact making friends is easy, and I am not shy, I just like to use my introversion to its full potential. Yes, I learned about sexuality and gender, but I learned about the hardships of people in the LGBTQ+ community, and their struggles. I learned at that second retreat that things I saw as challenges were not challenges at all, but miniature potholes, compared to the giant well that people were LGBTQ+ had to cross.



Grace Darrow

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