Thursday, July 15, 2010
I had an amazing time today in the Ropes Course. I was originally a little scared about what kind of activities I would be doing. Once we arrived at our destination, our class was divided in two. I was with My and Aaron, our facilitators.
Our first activity was to do a trust exercise. We paired up and let ourselves fall back slowly. I have done this activity before, but I had always been afraid. My personal goal for today was to challenge myself and come out of my comfort zone. Consequently, I truly trusted the people that were going to catch me. Everything was all right, but it made me realize that being at Brown University has really made me challenge myself more than ever before. After the Diversity Activity from last night, I became more comfortable with all the girls. Today I wanted to continue being courageous.
In some of the activities we had to do we weren't allowed to speak. This was a little hard for some of us. I personally wanted to communicate and make some suggestions as to what approaches would be good to take, but we weren't allowed. After we accomplished the task, we all sat in a circle and talked about what had just happened. I realized that this was a way to get each other to really pay attention to the movements of others. It was a different way of leadership in where we were all in the same level. We were all hindered from directly speaking.
There were some tasks that at first I wasn't entirely sure I was going to be able to accomplish. In one of the activities we had to cross to the other side by grabbing ourselves from a rope. I was a little insecure that I would be able to pull myself up and get across safely. However, I was one of the first to try it. I observed the girls' movements and decided to take the best approach to get across. It actually was quite easy. This showed me that there are times where I might not feel entirely capable of doing something, but all I have to do is try. There is nothing I can lose. That expression may sound cliche, but it definitely applied to my situation.
An important lesson I learned is that I should ask others how they feel regarding certain situations. In the "spider web" activity we had to pass through a net resembling a spider web without touching the rope. In this game only 6 students out of the 12 in our group were able to speak. Once again I took the initiative and decided to be one of the talkers. I was able to speak for some of the non talkers. Lina was trying to communicate through gestures about what to do and I was able to interpret them and say them for her. It was a great feeling. I was putting my listening skills into action.
However instead of just suggesting ideas, I should have asked if the girls felt comfortable. Instead of asking, "are you okay?" I should have asked "Does this make you uncomfortable?" This would have been a better approach since some girls didn't feel that comfortable beiing carried. Now I know that I need to work on rephrasing my questions to get a more effective response.
The last activity was the hardest for me. We had to walk across a rope. At first I was just a spotter. I made sure that the girls had me as support when crossing the rope. It was really hard to cross the rope that we didn't even get to finish. I was not able to cross the rope because it was time to start heading back. However, it was a fun activity. It seems that the class just keeps getting funner and funner by the day!
After we returned back to our building, I worked on my homework and then met with Ms. Stewart and the rest of the girls in the Ratty. We talked about our experience here so far. Then Guadalupe, Irene, and I came back to the building to continue our studying.
Later on we decided to go see a movie called "the Bicycle Thief" at 9 PM. The movie was interesting. It was in Italian. It was about a family who lived in poverty. The man had just received a new job, but that same day his bicycle was stolen. He asks some of his friends for help to look for it since he needs it for his job. Without the bike he wouldn't be able to provide for his family as he wanted. So he goes with his son and his friends on a search for the bike.
As he is looking for it, he spots the man who stole it and tracks him down. Sadly, he was not able to get his bike back. He feels pressured to steal a bike, but is caught in the act. His son was there to witness it. The man who he stole it from did not press any charges because he said he had bigger problems. It was not a happy ending, but it showed me what frustration can do to even the most honest person.
All in all, I had a great time exploring my leadership skills and working on my weaknesses while I was doing the Ropes Course. It was a fascinating experience.