If you haven’t heard me rave and stress about my Public Communications class, we probably haven’t spoken recently! Every class has been enjoyable, entertaining, empowering, and exciting in so many ways. I love and appreciate hearing people’s stories and having to reflect to dig for my own to share. So far, our speech topics have been introduction, what makes you you, influential leader/person, and occasion speech.
From this class, I have already learned a lot about myself and the ways I process internally and present myself externally through the reviewing and reflecting on recordings of my speeches. I remember the many thoughts racing through my mind and the feelings I have while I give my speech and how I actually articulate them with the words I choose to speak. The mix of what you think happened and what actually happened make you feel one way, yet when you watch the footage, you realize that it is nothing like what you were experiencing within yourself. This is the beauty of grace and self-love. Plus Buck, the instructor, is incredibly genuine and kind and wants his students to challenge themselves and do well in their own way.
If anyone is considering a class that doesn’t require heavy, theoretical reading and allows them to learn about themselves and others and how to improve their communication skills, public communications is the one.
It was really difficult for me to choose classes this semester because I was not sure if I wanted to narrow my focus or branch out to explore other interests. I decided to give myself one “fun” class with Public Communications and settled on the schedule below.
1. Poverty & Child Development “examines the impacts of child and youth poverty and related concerns from the perspectives of ecological developmental psychology and social policy, as well as how children’s resilience can be fostered by program and policy interventions.”
2. Public Communications is a performance course that “teaches the fundamentals of persuasive public speaking while encouraging students to develop their own voice [through] lectures and discussions will focus on persuasive strategies, delivery, and techniques for handling communications challenges such as tough audiences, public meetings and hearings, Q & A sessions, and dealing with the media.”
3. Readings in Educational Psychology: Risk & Prevention “is designed to present largely qualitative approaches to studying and evaluating developmental interventions for children and youth and will present integrative or mixed-methods approaches to help students understand how they might be utilized for particular research agendas.”
4. cont. Master’s Seminar “prepares ECS master’s students to cultivate a narrow area of expertise through the preparation of the ECS capstone” (research literature review).
5. cont. Ethnographic Filmmaking “engages the methodological and theoretical implications of capturing data and crafting social scientific accounts/narratives in images and sound.”
I started my role as the Diversity and Inclusion Fellow in the Student Affairs Office this semester. In this position, I am responsible for all diversity and inclusion programming that comes out of the Student Affairs Office at Penn GSE. I plan and organize activities and events that aim to help address and surface issues of diversity and inclusiveness that may be relevant to our students’ experiences and the Penn GSE community as a whole. As part of my responsibility, I also serve on the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board with other committed staff members and students to decide on efforts and actions we should take to best ensure diversity and inclusion remains a priority at GSE.
To be completely honest, I felt incredibly overwhelmed by and underprepared for the job because the last mandatory programming I did was back in college as a resident assistant. I knew the learning curve would be steep, both in developing my own awareness about content and managing school and work. However, I believed my desire and commitment to serve the needs of my peers and school mattered more than my shortcoming in experience and knowledge and knew I would do what I needed to do the best job I could. Since starting in my role, I have learned a lot about the need for honesty, collaboration, and humility.
Today, We Stand for Diversity of Mind (WSDM) partnered with local organizations to offer Penn students and the community an opportunity to serve in a variety of ways. People had the option to design and make capes and tutus for local day care centers, create books on tape Philadelphia Reads, package gifts with Helping Hands, and/or participate in beautification projects at Kingsessing Recreation Center. I opted for making tutus because I wanted to learn to make something new!
Today, I submitted my final assignment of my first semester of grad school! Yes! Relief. Temporary freedom.
Some reflections of my first semester:
1. Opportunities and choices are plentiful. And the difficult part about having this great fortune and privilege is realizing that only you can decide which ones you will take and what you will do to live with their outcomes. I often found myself asking others for and about things only I could have known was best or right for me. That’s not to say people were not helpful, but rather to stress the need to know and be sure of what you truly need and want in and for your life.
2. Freedom is nice, but discipline…is much more difficult. I will be the first to say I struggle with the loose structure of college. I struggle to focus and to make myself work knowing that no one is checking on me. And I struggle to ask and receive the help I know I probably need.
3. You really don’t know the outcomes of anything until you actually do it. Life is much like a study where conclusions can only be drawn based on actual evidence–experience. Do you want to make hypotheses forever or do you actually want to put them to the test so you know? Stop thinking or wondering about things and go out and do it!
4. Not everyone will agree with you, want to agree with you, or see things how you hope they will. And that’s okay. Your job isn’t to convince anyone that you or your ideas are worthy. If you feel like it is, then you’re only sabotaging yourself.
5. Find good people and wear them out. It is so important to find people who share common values and/or interests and are able to accept and push you. Sometimes they’re harder to spot at first, but be open. You don’t know what people can offer you.
During each of our visits to Carver HS for our ethnography in filmmaking class, we work with three different class periods of students. Our goal on our 11/18/16 visit was to get students better acquainted with the equipment and to find out more about different students’ stories and experiences to and at Carver to help us find the story we would help tell about the school. To that end, we taught small groups of students about the different equipment and/or interviewed students about their stories and experiences to and at Carver. Below are some moments captured by our team during this visit! Huge shoutouts to my awesome film teammates–Monique, Lauren, and Daniel–who are such great people and bring so much creativity, insight, and energy to the team and our work!