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Monday, July 6, 2015

Social Justice in the House!!

This morning was a bit hectic, but I have to say that it was a good day. We first had to get breakfast, but because everyone was trying to get breakfast all at the same time, I ended up waiting 20 minutes just to get into the dining commons. I took a to-go box because my class was supposed to meet at the quad about 15 minutes after I got food. To be honest, breakfast was not worth the wait. Because I rushed, I didn't really assess my options and I ended up with whole wheat pancakes, (who even makes those?!) I forced myself to eat as much of my bacon as possible because I'm not the type to generally waste food, but I just couldn't get myself to finish it because it was way too salty. 
Although breakfast was sort of a mess for me, it feels like such a distant memory because everything else good that happened, overshadowed the bad parts. For instance, today was my first day of class and I can honestly say that I loved my class!!!! We started off in the lawn in front of our building with some Qigong which is a sort of mix of Ti-chi and Yoga. We focused on being in the present and letting our bodies expand down into the soil and up to the sky; much like a tree. I'm a big fan of yoga or any other meditative sports so this was really cool to me. I have to say that I have to work on my breathing a bit more, I have the movements down though. 

Once we entered the building, we dove right into discussions. We first addressed the problem of how our classroom is set up in rows; which is apparently a bad thing. I'm used to being in rows, but the way they explained how rows are mainly used for power-play made sense to me. We are placed in a position that make us, the students, seem like empty vessels who have absolutely nothing to offer up into the conversation. When in reality, students have just as much to offer as the teacher, we're just on opposite sides of the coin. Neither one side of the same coin is more valuable than the other. We were challenged with the option on how to fix the "rows" issue to make our classroom better and the only thing I could think of would be getting rid of the chairs; because they take up too much space and maybe replacing them with beanbag chairs that could be placed in a way where everyone is comfortable. 
little break in between discussion

We were told to put up a word/phrase that we thought was constantly being left out of the "social justice" conversation and the one thing I could think of was "immigrants." I am an immigrant, though I am now a U.S citizen, I feel like not many people realize how little justice there is for many immigrants in many parts of the world, not just the United States.

We then moved on to a lecture where we analyzed a group of pictures. I am used to analyzing pictures due to my Lang class in school so I was comfortable with this kind of learning. I took a step out of my comfort zone and even participated by speaking into the mic a couple of times. Everyone was so intellectually and socially sensitive. There was no topic that seemed off limits and everyone seemed open minded. 

If I could have intellectually stimulating and deep conversations with everyone I meet, I would be very happy. I loved the ambiance of the class, everyone was mature and comfortable enough to touch certain topics such as racism, sexuality, and even poverty on the very first day of class. 

After a very hectic lunch, similar to breakfast, we headed back to class but divided into smaller groups. We first introduced ourselves and tried to get to know the names of others in the group. We then spoke about what our fears were in relation to speaking our mind. My worst fear/pet peeve is being interrupted or invalidated. I get interrupted quite a lot in my life and it 's something that  I've noticed in the past year. Whether I'm at home, at school, or with friends, I never seem to finish saying everything on my mind. Or worse, when I do, I'm completely ignored or made to feel like what I said was not important. I suppose this is why I've become more quiet lately than what I'm usually like. So I wrote this down on our fear sheet and the rule made to address my fear was called active listening. With active listening, we can't interrupt others or be on our phones while others are talking, which I believe is basic conversation etiquette. 

We talked about other people's fears, which most I related to. Carolyn spoke about her fear of sounding stupid which totally resonated with me because some times, I'm just really afraid to speak up because I'm not sure if what I'm saying is 100% correct. 

view of the bridge during tour
Dinner was better than lunch because I actually got to sit down. I sat with Justeen and the food was not bad at all. I indulged in a little bit of dessert but I'm trying to have a lot of self control so "freshman 15" doesn't happen to me before I'm in college. After dinner, we had a tour of our home area which a certain space around the campus where we have to stay on. I don't see myself going too far away from the quad area, but it was nice to know where the CVS and WaWa was just in case. 

I finished the day off with the cohort as we got together during free time for a secret plan. Justeen, Joanne, and I were also able to sign up for Laser Tag on Wednesday but I honestly won't be too excited to go if there is no one there that I know. I'm excited for tomorrow because now I know what my basic routine is and I can finally get comfortable. I'm excited to utilize my free time efficiently and I'm most excited for what tomorrow has in store for me in terms of self growth and discovery. 

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