The day we left I knew I was going to be changed throughout the trip but a number the ways I changed was more than I could have ever imagined.
My original thought going into the first day of class was that I would walk out a strong leader but I walked out with so much more. That first day I began breaking my comfort zones and opening up about things that I did not tell my closest friends, but I was willing to share with a stranger I had just introduced myself to. This was the first barrier I broke while at Brown, it taught me that it was okay to be me and to get rid of who I pretend to be.
My next barrier was being afraid to speak up and share my thought due to the possibility of being ridiculed. I was pushed to break this during the challenge course. The timing of the course was a key factor because the day before we (Women & Leadership) all participated in a privilege workshop. The workshop was a big part because it made us feel more connected. More so I think the fact that everyone participated and felt that they were in a safe space to share gave me an experience I don’t think I will have again. Which allowed me to feel comfortable speaking against the very north oriented people in my group, knowing that they respect the safe and brave space.
Bring up a brave space is my next point. I learned that it’s not only important to have a safe space but it’s crucial to have a brave space. In our brave space, everyone could speak their truths will others “seek first to understand, then be understood.” Everyone in the class took this very seriously which is why I believe we had so many meaningful and controversial conversations without offending anyone.
Finally, I formed a family that has continued to help each other even though the class has ended and we are spread out around the world. These amazing women have opened my eyes to so many different solutions to one problem as well as the diverse cultures the world has to offer (that are now a text away). I have learned so much from them that I would not have learned if I would have stayed in the Bay Area during the summer.
The class not only made me realized what type of leader I am but the type of women I want to be moving forward. Mary Grace, Imani, and Ashley have been key role models who have redefined what it means to be a woman to me. I will never forget the time I spent at Brown with them for they have changed who I am and who I will continue to become.
Even though we returned Friday night but I still find myself waking up and planning my walk to the Ratty and expecting a new discussion that changes the way I view something else.