Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steps Of Faith

The main green at Brown

In class today, we had a presentation from Jennifer Madden on public speaking. We first made a huge list on the board of what the qualities and behaviors of a good public speaker were; this included eye contact, pace of speaking, body language, and inflection, among many others. Jen covered each topic on the board in detail, and gave examples and counterexamples to demonstrate what she was telling us. She also told us some stories of past students she has had who have had public speaking disasters. I was interested and intrigued to learn that if one locks their knees for more than ten minutes, one can pass out.

I've been asking around about where I can find a piano to practice while at Brown, so after my morning class I headed to the Brown campus center with some music and played a piano in one of the side rooms there for about 45 minutes. I was really happy to be able to practice, and time passed quickly until the end of lunch.

After lunch, we put everything that we had gone over in the morning to practice. The class split into three smaller groups, and each person in the group had to give a 1-2 minute long impromptu speech about a topic that they picked out of a pile of topics. This was a fun exercise in thinking on the spot and trying to sound like I knew what I was talking about. One of the slogans both Jen and Kisa have given credibility to is "Fake it till you make it," and this definitely came in handy during the impromptu speech. Everyone did a really good job, even if they had said they were nervous beforehand. I think our class is full of strong, articulate speakers, which is inspiring. 

This evening, I played soccer with some of the other high school students on campus. It was great to get a chance to exercise; I always feel way more relaxed and peaceful after exercising. After dinner, I had our second Community Time with my class. 

This evening was an opportunity to bond intensely with everyone else in my class. We did two activities, the first one involving a discussion on diversity. We all closed our eyes and were handed different colored shapes. When we opened our eyes, we were asked to group ourselves, and collectively, almost everyone separated based on the color of their shapes. What followed was a discussion on how this activity represented society, and how society often separates groups of people based on color. I was interested to hear everyone's personal experiences with diversity in and outside of school, and compare it with my own experiences.

Our second activity involved trusting one another to accept each of us for who we were. We formed a circle, were asked questions, and had to step forward if the question applied to us. This activity created strong bonds between everyone in the class, because even though we are coming from all over the world, we can still relate to each other in important and personal ways. I am so amazed and touched that everyone in the class came away from this activity with such support towards everyone else in the class; I think everyone got a lot closer today.

Tomorrow we'll be doing the ropes course, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with such inspiring people.  

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