The Reflections unit aimed to help students look at their own lives and values. This unit was invaluable as we prepared to apply to colleges and needed to identify who we are as people and what we want for the next four years. In our English class we wrote a personal essay for college applications. In Design we made collages by looking through magazines and finding objects that speak to us. In Digital Media we wrote a perspective piece that allowed us to share our point of view on a subject of our choosing.
For my personal essay I looked at my experiences throughout high school and middle school. I reflected on where I am today and the paths that I took to get there. Writing this essay was very therapeutic for me as I identified areas of my life that I had to give up to be who I am now. Instead of writing about a challenge in my life that I had to overcome, I looked at how the direction of my life as shifted and adjusted with the choices I have made and how my closing one door I was able to open many others.
The Common Door
All my life, I have been expected to act older than my age. This was primarily because I looked it. I am currently 6ft 2in tall and I have been tall my entire life. When I was four I was expected to act like I was six, when I was ten I was expected to act like I was fourteen. And so, I conformed to that expectation. In many ways, my height made me a better person. I became more mature, more patient, and more thoughtful. But it also led me down paths that I otherwise may not have chosen.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a singer. I wrote my own songs, learned to play guitar, and sang in the school choir, loving every second of it. I continued on this musical path up until my freshman year. As a freshman, I made the varsity basketball and varsity volleyball teams and was trying to continue doing choir as well. Figuring out how high school works in itself was a struggle for me my freshman year; to layer sports on top of singing was a daunting challenge.
So I made a choice. Realistically, I knew that I had a good shot at playing sports in college. I knew that I already had the size, and that the skill would come with time and practice. So I made the practical decision to quit choir. Each of us is presented with a certain set of circumstances that we end up making choices around. Consciously or unconsciously, we shut and open doors everyday to new experiences because of the situations we are in. Although this may not seem like a big sacrifice, I was shutting a door to something that had been a part of my life since I was a little girl. This did not diminish my love for both basketball and volleyball, but I often felt like there was a void in my life that could only be filled with music.
Time got away from me and I kept myself busy with sports. I continued to be more of a leader each year on my teams and made friendships that I will always cherish. But I felt like something was missing. Because I quit choir, I had a free period my sophomore year. I don’t like to be idle. I prefer to be busy and efficient, so I sought ways to fill this time. I decided to volunteer in the classroom of my old second grade teacher. By letting go of one of my passions I discovered another unintentionally.
I have always enjoyed working with kids. The blind trust and unapologetic love of children is something that I aspire to have more of because it contrasts greatly with my natural skepticism and tendency to judge. Children remind me to see the joy in the small things of life and live not timidly but full of energy and passion. I found that when I was working with kids the emptiness I had felt from missing music went away. This new outlet helped me find myself again and became one of the many things that bring me joy.
To this day, I still love helping kids. I have enjoyed being a coach, a camp counselor, and a children’s volunteer at church. These experiences have helped me to decide that I would thrive at teaching elementary schoolers.
Although it poses certain challenges, I am extremely grateful for my height. It helped me earn a scholarship and mature into the person I am today. But part of me will always wonder what would have happened if I continued choir and quit sports instead. What would have happened if I had been expected to act my age?
Our perspective piece project allowed us to share our own unique perspective on whatever topic we would like. I chose to discuss people’s social tendencies in the bay area. This project was super engaging because we got lots of freedom to discuss what we are passionate about. After recording our perspective piece, we were able to make a video about it using after affects. Because this was my first time using after affects, this project was a really cool intro into the application. I was able to animate pictures that helped communicate my message over my voice recording.
For this assignment we looked through stacks of magazines and found visuals that stood out to us. We wanted to have an interactive collage with lots of pieces working together. The entire collage was supposed to be nonsensical but have unity throughout it.
The process for this project was fairly straightforward. We all brought in magazines to class and looked through them. Once we found a piece we liked we cut it out using an exacto knife. We developed a “morgue” where we stored all of the possible pieces for our collage. After we had a large enough morgue we looked at how the pieces could interact and work together and put together our collage.
I really enjoyed this project because it gave us a chance to express our unique selves with paper. I found it interesting to sift through the magazines and look at all of the images included. It amazed me that you could find almost any picture in one of the magazines.