Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Every End is a New Beginning"

Indeed it is almost time to leave. I am very sad to be leaving Rhode Island and on Saturday, the East Coast. I've been so happy at Brown and I do not want to leave this campus. I can truly picture myself going here for college. But it's time to go back and utilize what we've learned here in our communities.

Action Plans are the most important thing we are focusing on right now. We split into several groups to practice our presentations, focusing on improvements from our fellow peers. It went well, but I realize that I still need to practice a lot more.

Although it may seem like an easy task to talk about the change you want to have in your community, speaking to a crowd it harder than it looks. It's hard to find out what to say when you can't ask your audience directly if they are bored, amused, irritated or content when you're up on the podium. But with the time I've had to practice, I've improved drastically and I can say that it will become easier over time to speak in front of a large audience.

My friend, Tierra, from New Orleans and I!

After the morning practice, we once again got into groups to discuss ethics. When faced with a difficult situation, what choice would you make? What actions and things what you do? Would it be the right or wrong thing? Are you aware of the consequences of our actions? These were some of the questions asked in several hypothetical situations given to us. 

For most of them, I could promptly make my decision while others took me some time to decide what I would do. Would I tell on my best friend that she was smoking on school property when it is illegal to do so? Or would I sympathize with her because she's going through a rough phase in her life? This I was a bit more hesitant about answering, but I finally decided that I would leave her with a warning with a caution that if she were to do it again, I would talk to the principal. Overall, I think I made the right choices. Maybe I couldn't please everyone, but I chose to do what was best for everyone in the situation. 

Leadership is not mean you have to please everyone, but rather it is making a decision and sticking with it until you follow through. It means not being passive, not being aggressive, but being assertive. Consider others before making a final decision but also be decisive about your own ideas as well. 

After lunch, we had a self-defense class which I was really excited about. Michelle was the instructor and she showed several types of moves we can use when we are in a dangerous situation. 

I learned a lot through the program and Michelle mentioned that she has never had to use self-defense in a very dangerous situation. She said that after people take the class, they have a new layer of confidence that can be seen from the outside. Observing her, I could see what she meant and I knew that a guy would not want to mess with her. The empowerment that women obtain through these types of programs are amazing and it encourages them to become women of authority, even in their own survival. 

I've taken a self-defense class for a while at Richmond High School on Fridays through PE. It was only a short-term integrated course and I wish it was longer. However, I will look into self-defense classes once I get back home to take over the year. 

During the evening, we had a final social event, specifically for our house: Harkness House. There was a dance (which I thought would have been nice, but trying to fit 60+ kids in a small, stuffy lounge results in a hot and sweaty room and an unpleasant musty odor.) and a games room in the other lounge. We ended up playing Apples to Apples with several of our Brownie friends. 

It's sad to see everything coming to a close, but the show must go on. I will miss my new friends terribly and hopefully I will see them again one day in the future. My Action Plan is be presented tomorrow and I am both excited and anxious for it. I have prepared myself for this moment. 

On the good side, I am almost done packing! There's no procrastination for me. 

(Pictures will be up tomorrow. The internet is taking so long!) 

1 comment:

  1. Lupe,

    The whole question of ethics is an interesting discipline.

    Many issues are cut and dried and there’s no question about what needs to be done. Others—such as the one you mentioned—are a bit more difficult. We sometimes have to ask ourselves what it is that we need to accomplish. Are we surrogate police officers or morality police set on this Earth to keep people in? In a case like this don’t we need to keep things in perspective? In a situation like this is the goal to keep people form smoking on campus or is it to punish those that do? If you believe it’s the latter then you have an obligation to rat on your friend and issue some tough love. You can always visit her at the juvenile detention center on weekends.

    Or, you can talk with her to help her understand what she needs to do.

    Where the ethics issue comes into play, though, is whether you feel obligated to enable your friend and become a coconspirator in her continuing efforts to ignore the rules.

    When you take the path of the first set of options, you can easily fall into the trap of becoming what we see in totalitarian societies such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union where even family members are convinced they need to turn in their loved ones “for the betterment of the people”.

    It doesn’t matter whether a person is a male or a female, big or small, when they walk with an air of confidence the evildoers of this world can see this and will, most likely, avoid them and prey on someone they feel they can lord over and subjugate.

    Towards that end, so much of what you’ve been taught and what you’ve learned these past couple of weeks will allow you to walk with the swagger of a confident person. The meek may inherit the Earth but only after the strong and mighty have left town.