Sunday, February 22, 2015

News from the Heartland

Yesterday I spoke about the Talent Development Opportunity (TDO) project proposal of one of my students.  Given that his previous project has been an ongoing TDO for the last three years, it wasn't surprising that a former student recognized the Robespierre novel, and was easily able to identify the student behind the newest proposal. 

What did surprise me was that this student reached out with her own success story in the risk-taking department:

So I just read your blog post about the project and I think it’s super cool.You probably don’t know this yet, but I quit softball this year. It was a tough choice, but I realized that even though it’s generally the thing I’m known for being “good” at it wasn’t making me happy in the slightest. In fact, last year was just downright stressful and self-destructive and I didn’t want to repeat it. So I made a goal this term to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone, especially where art was concerned since I’ve officially decided to be a Cinema and Media Studies/Psychology double major. So I started sketching, thinking that being able to translate what’s in my head onto paper will be very useful in film. I joined ebony (and was in a dance with Laramie!) and danced in front of people, which was EXTREMELY uncomfortable, but also a blast and made me learn a lot about what makes an engaging performance and being in front of an audience. 

I’m currently in a dungeons and dragons campaign and it is amazing. I got to meet some awesome new people, and it’s a fun way to engage in character and story creation development collaboratively. I’ve learned a lot from the more experienced players about what makes an interesting character. It’s also just 4 incredibly hilarious and ridiculous hours a week. With all of these things I’ve been making it a goal to stand behind what I do and create, and not belittle what I work hard for. But even with all the fun I’ve been having it can be really stressful and disheartening to be involved in multiple things where you’re the newbie still learning the ropes. But I’ve also learned SO MUCH and the term isn’t even over yet. 

So yeah, even though I haven’t gotten to talk to him in a while I’m super proud of him for going out on a limb and doing something new. It might suck at times but it also tends to teach you things about yourself you never knew before. I hope the new semester goes well, and best of luck to everyone on their projects! 


Given the fact that Madi was anything but a risk-taker in high school, and that she goes to college in (and I emphasize southern) southern Minnesota, where the windchill is, well, probably negative triple digits, I actually teared up when I read her  unsolicited comments.

So here's my question.  Does risk-taking come with maturity?  And, by that, I mean responsible risk-taking.  (Because there certainly was some risk involved in creating an observatory-sized R2D2 costume for the science building at Carleton College -- or at least in the final fitting of said costume. - see picture above).

AND, if risk-taking is something that we can discover with maturity, then why do so few of us engage in educational risk-taking?

I wish I had the answer.  I know I still have my virginal blank book, and have not written or drawn a single thing in it, still paralyzed with the fear of the result being anything but pleasing.  

You're right.  I can dish it out, but I rarely take my own advice.  Although there is a certain personal satisfaction in reveling in the success of others -- this weekend, it's Madi.

You go, girl!

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