Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This entire trip is truly a learning experiment. Just in the last three days that I have been at Brown, I have learned so many things about women, about leadership, about teenagers, and especially about myself.

Because this class is less about learning facts and more about exploring concepts, I have become much more intellectually and emotionally invested. Before this class, I had never truly pushed myself into taking a leadership position, thinking about what I could actually do to fight injustice, and concentrate so much on the wellbeing of others. I haven't found my passion, and one of the things that causes me great anxiety is living a life without great purpose.

So today, when the personal reflection journal that Kisa assigned to us touched on all of the above ideas, I freaked out. Although I had been very disciplined throughout the day about time management, my hopes of a good nights sleep went down the drain as soon as I read the prompt, which asked, "What are some of the things that matter to you? If you had "no fear" and no limitations, what are some things that you would do to better yourself, your school, community, or world?" I literally spent two hours thinking and coming up with nothing, feeling guilty about not caring enough about other's problems, feeling frustrated that I hadn't found my passion, and finding too many things that I needed to better about myself. This then reminded me of all of the problems that I am dealing with, future worries, and past regrests. I felt extremely unsatisfied, vulnerable, and hopeless. Eventually I ended up having an emotional breakdown. I wished that I had an unbiased third person that I could tell all my problems to, that would understand me, and help me through my tough time.

And then I had an epiphany. This entire time, I have been trying to think of a theme for my Action Plan. I felt that there was a lot of injustice around topics such as gay rights and immigrant rights, but I couldn't think of a way to actually help the cause. I had also thought of more practical ideas, but felt that help wasn't as needed in those areas. I realized that one of the reasons I was having such a hard time thinking about how to help solve others' problems was that I had so many problems of my own. My own unhappiness and instability prevented me from transcending and going beyond myself. I realized that one of the reasons why our society isn't as focused on helping each other is because we all feel that we need to help ourselves first.

Through this thought process, I came up with the idea to start an anonymous advice and mentorship organization. The idea is that people can come and explain their problems without worrying about being judged, and then a group of people would discuss the problem and contribute their thoughts and opinions in order to provide the most thoughtful and comprehensive solution possible. This would not only help the person recieving the advice, but it would also benefit the people giving the advice through experience in working and sharing ideas and opinions with others, as well as practicing dealing with emotional problems in a rational way.

I hope that this seed of idea will be able to grow into a reality. I don't know if this will end up being the theme of my action plan, but at the moment it is the only thing that seems organic and worthwhile. This is all that I can ask of myself at this point.


  1. Caroline,

    Really sorry about the epiphany. Sometimes it sucks to look in the mirror and actually see what's being reflected. The good thing, though, is that you've seen something new, realized what you saw and know that something needs to be done. That's always the first step towards improvement.

    Your draft Action Plan is a novel concept. Do you really think, though, that people can listen to the person seeking advice without forming opinions and passing judgement? That'd be pretty tough to do. We're all human so becoming dispassionate about something would be a tough one. I know I probably couldn't do it. (Does this mean I don't get the job?)

  2. This is an excellent blog. It's sad to hear that you're having a bit of a tough time, but like you said: It's all a learning experience. As you continue your course, you'll begin to grow comfortable with your environment and grow from there. When I was at Brown, I found that unbiased third person that I could talk to. That was what was missing in my life. I'm hoping the best for you, Caroline.

    One event leads to another, and BAM. There's your Action Plan. It's fate.


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