Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Becoming a Family
Some of the girls at the Diversity Activity
Coming to the East Coast has really been a life changing experience. I expected to learn a lot in the class, but the class has by far exceeded all of my expectations. It is amazing. I had never been in such a great and interacting learning environment. I am in love with my class. This is my third day here and I have already learned so much!
Today we worked on our public speaking skills. We started off the class with another short ice breaker. Then Kisa broke us up into groups of 4. She had each of us write down an open minded question. In the group we were in someone had to be the facilitator of the conversation. Since I want to really work on my leadership skills, I decided that this would be a perfect way to do so. I was the facilitator and picked a question regarding our reading about Baby X. It was interesting to see some of the other girl's perspectives. Some didn't think the story was that relevant because it was fiction, while others seemed to really like it.
After we were done discussing our open minded question, we had a guest speaker named Jen Madden. She asked us about what were some things that hindered our public speaking skills. Alli, her assistant, wrote down all the things we said on the board. Some of our issues involved articulating our thoughts, our fear of getting judged, and assumptions that we as teenagers don't know what we are saying.
Jen let us know that we will get judged, but that we just have to be confident. However, she reminded us that there are differences between being assertive and being aggressive. I should always listen to other opinions and not just focus on my ideas. I need to sound confident, but not cocky. I also learned that our body language is really important. I need to stand up straight, use hand gestures, don't fidget, slow down and take a breath. There are so many more tips that Jen gave us.
The most important tip she gave us was to make eye contact. She said that this is the perfect way to show that you are confident in what you are saying. Now we might have a great presentation planned out, but it will be useless if we don't have a good pace and speak loudly enough so everyone can hear. She told us to look at a persons eye for at least 3 seconds since we don't want them to feel uncomfortable if we look at them for a long time. Having eye contact is a good way to make sure we keep the audience focused.
In addition, Jen also talked about proper movement and using ethos, logos, and pathos to grab the attention of the audience. We need to show our passion and enthusiasm so the audience can feel that too. There were so many great tips that Jen gave us that I definitely plan on using them while presenting my Action Plan next Friday, the last day of school.
After we had this activity we went to lunch. On our way back Guadalupe, Thara, and I saw Robin Rose, the dean. We asked her to say our names to see if she remembered them and she did! I was happy that she remembered my name since she seemed to have a hard time remembering it yesterday. She asked us what we were learning in class today and she told us to not worry that much about public speaking. She said that we would do great on the activity we were doing in the afternoon.
So we headed off to class where it was time to break into groups and give a 1 minute presentation. We had the option of choosing from a topic in the box or talking about our Action Plan. I decided that it was a great opportunity to talk about my Action Plan. It was such a helpful activity because the girls asked me good questions that will help me make my Action Plan presentation better. I really enjoyed this activity. I was a little surprised that I didn't get nervous. This showed me how comfortable I am getting with all the girls.
After we had that activity it was sadly time to go. In the afternoon we all met together for a diversity activity. It was really emotional for some of us. It was hard to share some things that we consider to be personal. We had activities that really made us all bind together through our similarities. The activities were amazing because it made us realize that even though we are all strong women, we still have issues. It really made me feel closer with the girls in the room. My level of respect increased. It really took courage to step out of the circle and I greatly admire everyone for taking that risk. I was a little scared at first, but then I realized that we are all open minded. It feels good to be surrounded by such great young women.
Overall, I had an amazing day. I enjoyed listening to new ideas and feelings that others have.