Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Baby X"

Talking with Kisa

My professor Kisa and I
I woke up at 8 AM today to take a shower. The showers here are really different from the one I have back home. The shower is covered by a curtain that doesn't really close all the way, but it does cover most. There was no one in the bathroom at that time which was really good. After I finished getting ready, I went to go eat at the Ratty. There I sat with Eva (a girl from Mexico), Preetilata (a girl in my class), Irene, and Guadalupe.

Then we all went walking to our classroom. I had such a great time today. Since it was the second day of class, we were all really comfortable with one another. I sat next to new people. To my right was Lina and to my left was Chelsea. It was fun sitting next to them because I really got to know them. We even exchanged numbers so we can communicate with each other.

Today we talked about finding our passions. Kisa gave us 3 pipe cleaners and asked us to make something out of them that represents something we are passionate about or really like. I ended up doing a tree, a pencil, and a paint brush. The tree represents my interest in the Environment. The pencil represented my passion to write. I actually try to keep a journal. On my free time I just write about what happened that day. The paint brush represents my passion for art. I love all different kinds of art. I really like abstract art, so that is why I decided to use a paint brush. I realized that I share some things in common with other girls. There were about 3 other girls that had a strong interest in our Environment and there were a few that chose a pencil to represent their passion to write.

After we had that activity, Kisa passed out a paper in where we wrote down what we thought our weaknesses and strengths were. I had a bit of trouble in writing my strengths because I have always been taught to be humble. This activity actually challenged me to really think about them. I realized that it doesn't make me stuck up if I know my strengths and think about them once in a while. However, I was not the only person in class that had a hard time writing down their strengths. We had a conversation on why we had such a hard time and what we can do to make it easier for us. It was an interesting conversation. I really liked it.

Then we were broken down into groups where we were asked to write about what self-esteem/ confidence is, what can be some challenges, and what were some possible solutions to those challenges. It was really interesting to hear all the different opinions that we all had about what the words self-esteem and confidence really are. Then we talked about some of the challenges women face and how that might cause a lack of confidence in some women. There were great points given and discussed. I really enjoyed this activity. Class is always fun and interacting. I feel that I have learned so much here about leadership skills.

After we finished the activities, we went to lunch at noon. We decided to go to the Ratty again where I sat with Guadalupe, Selene, and Maria (a girl from Panama). Then after we were all done eating we headed back to our classroom.

We had a special guest, who is a Dean, that went over with us what it takes to be a good leader with great listening skills. She showed us the importance of not only speaking up, but also listening to what the other person has to say. It seems that nowadays there are poor listening skills when discussing debatable topics. It would be so much better if we just stepped back a little and let the other person talk and really listen to what they have to say. That way we can use a rebuttal or really get to understand the other person's point of view.

I learned that we all need to understand first and critique second. I also learned that a way of letting the other person know that you're listening is by nodding, having direct eye contact, summarizing what they said, asking questions, and using gestures. We all practiced listening and then we all practiced talking to each other. It was an interesting activity.

I learned that the most important questions to ask a person are the ones that start with "what" and "how". For instance we can ask: "What do you think we should do?" or "How can I help you?".

Then there are those who can't seem to stop talking. She advised us on how we can probably break away from that conversation without being rude. We can break eye contact and hope that they get the message and hopefully stop to take a breath or we can redirect the conversation with others. We can say something like "That's a good point, I wonder what others have to say about it".

I also learned that there are times when we don't really know how to address an issue we might have with someone or to let them know what we are feeling, so I learned that I can use the I-message. The I-message is "I feel... when you... because... I would like...". We then fill in the blanks. I think this is an amazing way to help me get my feeling across if I'm in a situation that I feel I need to say something.

After we were done with this activity we had a 5 minute break and then returned and had a closing time. In this activity we go around in a circle and we each say one thing we plan to work on. I like this because it really gets me thinking of what I am going to work on to improve.

Furthermore, today's reading was really interesting. We had to read about a story about a "Baby X". Baby X was an experiment baby. No one knew what gender the baby was, not even the parents. The mother taught X to play football, while the father taught X how to have a tea party and knit. X was raised differently and every time they asked X if it was a boy or a girl, it always replied with a smile on its face that it was an X. People would get upset because they wanted to know what gender X was.

By the time X got to school, the other kids were curious to what X was. They saw that X played sports, but also had a great time playing tea parties. X's first day was a little rough because everyone got frustrated that they didn't really know what it was. In the end, X inspired other students to do something they normally wouldn't do. The parents saw changes in their children and they forced the principal to get X evaluated as to see what it was. After X's evaluation the evaluator said that everything was fine with X and that it knew exactly what it was. This taught me that people are afraid of change and may not approve of it, but that does not mean that it should influence me. I need to be sure of my own abilities and passions. In the science fiction story of X, the people turned out to be the ones who had the problem not X.

Overall, I really had such a fabulous time today. I really am liking my class a lot.


  1. Yay! Me too. Let's see An Inconvenient Truth together tomorrow night.

  2. That sounds great! At what time?

  3. Lucero,

    There's a case that's in the news right now about Caster Semenya. Caster is a world class 800 meter track & field runner for South Africa.

    The question is whether Caster is a male or a female. What's complicated things is that this goes way beyond simple genetics. The investigation and judgment took well over a year and a 'verdict' was rendered just last week. It would behoove you to look her up on the Internet and read more about her case. Go beyond what you see in Wikipedia to learn of some of the real issues being considered.

    The story of Caster Semenya touches on what you learned today and may be of value for future discussions.

    I'm betting that the story about Baby X was just a story created to demonstrate a point but the case of Caster Semenya is a real life example of how the world had such difficulties with her gender assignment.

  4. I heard about that story a few months ago. I shared it with the GSA. It faded out of the major media spotlight and I forgot about it. Thanks for sharing the continuation of the story.