Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Brown is always there to welcome you home"

I woke up this morning and realized something very saddening: today was the Brownies last full day in Providence. Our last full day at Brown. It was a heartbreaking thought. I love Brown so much and do not want to leave at all. I do not want to leave this area, these girls, this is too much to bear.

I had breakfast at The Ratty and was pleased to see they had french toast. After breakfast, I went to class and held in my emotion about it being our last regular day of class.

We watched two YouTube videos: 1) This is what a feminist looks like and 2) Feminist Survey: Men on the Street. In the first video, famous actors and actresses stated that:
  • Men can be feminists
  • Feminists are humanists 
  • Feminism doesn't mean that women hate men 
  • Acknowledgment of feminism should be considered grateful
The 2nd video was a little more painful to watch. Many girls winced at the men's opinions of feminism:
  • Lesbians 
  • "Why are you complaining about women's rights when you got the right to vote in 1920?"
  • Angry women 
  • "Men are the head of the household" 
And then WOMEN came opinions on feminism:
  • Feminists are lesbians that hate men
  • Feminism sounds like something from the past
  • Aggressive, demanding, not ladylike
I was very surprised at the reactions about feminism in the 2nd video. I thought they were very negative and hard to even watch.

We then watched a video from Sandy Sandberg who reviewed how in the workforce, men are seen as assertive and women are seen as aggressive. I agreed with her testimony.

After we watched the final video, we got into groups and got a piece of paper. We drew a T-shirt and on the inside, we wrote our positive opinions of feminism and on the outside, we wrote negative stereotypes about feminism. My group consisted of Ava and Olivia.

After we finished making our signs, we got into a debate about who considers themselves a feminist in the class and who doesn't, and why. The debate then continued about men opening the door for women on dates - Caroline revealed that she gets annoyed when men do that, and when men pay the bill on a date. I thought it was a very meaningful and interesting conversation.

We then got in our seats, we received two sticky notes and were told to write the first two things that came to mind at the word "conflict." Most people had negative things to say, such as:

  • Physical fighting 
  • Trouble 
  • Anger
  • Arguments 
We posted those sticky notes on the board and then had a discussion about internal and external conflicts and conflicts with others. In my opinion, conflict is inevitable.

Kisa gave us partners, and my partner was Ludie. We were given scenarios and were told to act them out. We had to test whether our responses were passive, aggressive, or assertive. Some scenarios Ludie and I received were:

  • Your teacher was supposed to give you your rough draft on your paper on Monday, but it is now Wednesday. You need it back so you can make revisions by Friday because you are going to a wedding and wedding party this weekend and will not be back until Sunday night. The final paper is due on Monday. What should you do? 
  • You have just joined the varsity soccer team and are very excited. Your boyfriend, on the other hand, is not. He wants you to quit the team and spend more time with him, and he says if you don't, he will break up with you and start going out with another girl. What should you do?
  • Your school has just started a no-smoking policy on campus. You catch a couple of people, including your close friend, smoking. Your close friend sees that you have caught them. What should you do? 
I noticed that during the second and third scenarios, my and Ludie's conversations got very aggressive. For the first scenario, it was an assertive tone. I found it interesting that as the topics got tougher, so did our body language and speech.

Before lunch, we practiced our Action Plan speeches. We timed each other, and my time came out to be three minutes and thirty three seconds. I was impressed, but I need to work on stuttering and not pausing so much in between sentences.

I had a quick lunch at Johnny Rocket's before heading back to the dorm to rest a bit. I then headed back to the classroom, where we all waited a bit before taking a quick walk to a hall located by the Main Green to take an exciting two-hour workshop: Self Defense!

The workshop was amazing and energizing. Our instructor, Michelle, showed us several "moves" such as the straight punch, hammer (when someone grabs your wrist and you use your free hand to slam into their forearm), side kick, etc. We all screamed "NO!" every time we did a new move, as "no" is the response to an attack. We then got to practice with Michelle by hitting pads that were strapped to her hands. Everyone cheered and I felt really encouraged.

In between the time after the workshop ended and before our evening class started, I worked on my second interview. I was paired with Mackenzie, and she and I have grown to be close. We asked each other questions about how we have developed as leaders and our response to the course. Mackenzie said that her public speaking and confidence in herself has greatly improved due to the course, and I feel the same way in regards to myself.

Having the last dinner with Abiona, Cynthia Z., Maddie, Mackenzie, Rebecca, and Marilyn was bittersweet. A couple of guys from Keeney joined as well. It was a nice meal and a good way to begin the evening.

The evening class was very emotional. At the beginning it was scary, though. We stacked chairs on top of other chairs but that proved to be almost fatal. A chair started to lean forward and almost crashed on top of Mariko's head. I ran forward and steadied the chair before it collapsed on her head. I gave a huge sigh of relief as I picked up the chair and moved it to the other side. I felt like I exhibited good leadership by doing that. The girls clapped and I even heard "hero" - it made me glow on the inside.

Continuing on, the first activity we did was by holding a string of yarn and passing around the ball of yarn. We were to praise someone in the class and then pass the yarn to each person. Alli praised me for being very sweet and welcoming to her. I praised Mariko for growing as a person and stepping out of her shell. It was very empowering; some girls cried when praising others.

The second activity we did was much more emotional, though. We sat in a circle and passed around a pencil (as a "microphone") and stated our experience with Summer@Brown. Not many people got to speak due to a time limit, but the girls that did speak were very emotional and happy about the experience. Some girls that didn't speak cried in happiness and sadness [about leaving]. I love how we consider ourselves "sisters."

We then got together with our RA and our floor and sat in a circle. People were volunteers and tapped people on the head in response to a question. Some of the questions were "tap someone who has inspired you the most"/"tap someone who has challenged you"/"tap someone who made you feel better about yourself." Everyone's eyes were closed, so we didn't know who was tapping us. It was humbling.

I absolutely love Brown University. I definitely have enjoyed my time here. These three weeks have been the best three weeks of my life. I will love and remember:
  • Bazooka-Zooka-Bubble Gum song 
  • "Kaity" moments
  • SIMON...haha 
  • Dorm food 
  • Josie's rapping 
  • Antonio's 
  • Constant walking 
  • Story telling 
  • Maddie's dancing 
  • Circles 
  • The Estro-Den 
  • The Fab Five (Brown Session 1) and the Super Seven (Brown Session 2)
I shall sadly finish packing, and then go to sleep - I have a long day ahead of me.

Bay Area, it's been a while.

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