Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lean Away!

After waking up from a terrible nightmare, I rushed through my breakfast and walked to where the buses were to take us to the Ropes Course activity. I’ve never done any type of rope courses so I was a bit hesitant about the whole situation. I was nervous but I enjoyed the ride to Bristol, where the facility is. We were separated into groups after Dean Rose gave us an awesome introduction. Again, in every activity we do, we are encouraged to meet someone we have never spoken to. Today, I met a girl from Vermont. She is doing a program called Global Engagement here in Brown. How intense! We separated into our classes, then again in two groups. I ended in Christina’s (one of our Fellow Leaders) team with Lydia, Emily, Molly, Chloe, Lizzie, Kennedy, Elisha, Abby, Amy, Jessica, and Destiney.  I feel that it’s appropriate that I state everyone’s names in this entry just because I feel that they all played important roles in each challenge we had to face.
Lunch time with everyone!

I really got to know everyone in a different level due to the Ropes Course. We got to work as a team and had to find ways to piece our unique ideas to form genius plans that eventually helped us persevere through each obstacle course. I don’t think that we had it easy simply because every single one of us had creative ideas. We all wanted to be heard, which isn’t always a great thing… especially when we had to balance a huge teeter totter during one activity. At one point we all found ourselves frustrated when everyone started throwing their ideas on the floor.  It got even worse when the instructors told us that we had to remain silent! Imagine all 12 intelligent minds trying to collaborate on how to keep balance on a teeter totter without talking. It worked out when we began giving each other a chance to I guess take lead in certain tasks. We didn’t exactly establish tasks, but in the end everyone found things to do that helped each other. For example, Abby was particularly helpful in reminding everyone about the One Mic, One Diva rule we established. It meant that we should let one person speak at a time. I found myself being more of a support system and really trying to comfort everyone rather than taking charge and telling others what to do.  I saw that a team worked better if everyone would step back and take turns contributing ideas plus effort into what the activity or mission was.
International students!
In many activities, we had to trust each other physically. I remember having to trust all my team members when I had to be levitated up and through kind of elastic wires that made up shapes. It was our second to last activity. I realized how important trust is when it comes to leadership.  Ever since a young girl, I was never comfortable with trusting anybody. This is both mentally and physically. But today I was able to step out of my comfort zone and trust that my team members knew what they were doing.  Trust is what held my team together today. I don’t think that any of our plans would have worked if we didn’t trust each other when it came to thinking if it would work or not. I definitely felt a progression within myself because I was able to smoothly let my guards down. I will bring this insight wherever I go.  
The Ropes Course is something that I will never forget. I learned how I deal with my physical and mental challenges. The Ropes Courses stimulated both. I had to step out of my comfort zone a little bit so that I could help my team.  I had to help lift some people or hold them up.  That’s something I think I will need to be doing in the real world anyway. I mean, I can’t always have it my way J. Mentally, I had to let go of my guards. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to connect with anybody if I don’t open up.  I could feel myself growing internally. It can only go up from here.

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