For the first entry this week I will be reflecting on my groups Educative Experience. My group and I put a lot of time, effort and organization into this project and I was quite pleased with the outcome. I took on the role of front loader and with the help of my group members ideas, I did a lot of organizing, coordinating, and assembling behind the scenes to ensure that the day would go smoothly. My group and I wanted to work with the idea of pushing people outside of their comfort zones in a more unfamiliar environment. The challenges we designed were social in nature and would involve interaction with strangers so we thought that hosting the experience downtown would provide many opportunities for interaction. Another reason that we thought hosting the experience downtown would be a good idea is that the unfamiliar location would provide a new and more unfamiliar setting.
The day of the experience I felt some nerves as this was a project that I had put a lot of time and effort into. As we moved into the beginning of the experience I also felt some nerves because I knew which challenges were ahead. Even at the first challenge, I struggled to talk to a stranger on the bus. I would say that some of the social challenges, where i had to talk to strangers were the challenges where i felt the least comfortable. Fortunately, my partner Kaitlyn felt comfortable doing these challenges and she helped to reassure me on the challenges where i felt nervous. Interestingly enough, I was able to help Kaitlyn in the challenges where she felt uncomfortable – for instance I found the blindfolded challenge to be simple and not very intimidating, whereas Kaitlyn felt some nerves about this challenge. It was a nice feeling that we were able to help one another and I feel like this helped to build our confidence throughout the experience.
I would say throughout the experience I never felt too far out of my comfort zone, each challenge pushed me outside of my usual comfort zone but never to the point where i felt extreme anxiety or nerves. The challenge that resonated with me the most was the challenge where we were asked to sit on the ground on a garbage bag. I didn’t really think much of this challenge until i took part in it. Instantly I felt insignificant; people would see me from about 20 feet away and once they got closer and walked past me they would act as if i wasn’t there. I even made the point to look at each person and smile at them to see if this would make a difference but it didn’t. This challenge gave me just a small taste about what it would be like to be ignored and unacknowledged on a daily basis. After completing this challenge I felt a whole new sense of empathy for those who rely on the kindness of strangers to afford a meal.
Once Kaitlyn and I completed the challenges I felt a sense of relief. I had completed all of the challenges and I had gained a new insight out of the experience which was something I was not expecting. I was quite impressed with the disscussion component, especially with how willing my classmates were to discuss their experience. I really appreciated hearing most of their insights. There was one moment where the discussion appeared to be going in a rather negative direction; people were making assumptions about those who need to ask strangers for money, but fortunately we were able to turn the conversation around and refocus our discussion. Overall, I feel like the experience and discussion were successful and I am pleased with the way our classmates responded and reflected on the experience.