I want to begin this reflection by saying, all of ya’ll are amazing people for different reasons and I am extremely grateful I was able to experience this opportunity.
First, I have been able to extend my passion for advocacy. I have learned that there is a deeper layer of advocacy and grassroots organizing. Previously, I thought that when working towards change it took A LOT of people to make things happen, you know strength in numbers. But really it is about strength and passion those involved whether its 4 or 400 people.
I also have begun to attack my fear of public speaking. My issues with Public Speaking began when I started to gain weight and it has been a battle ever since. I have let low-self esteem take away my voice and my power. It made me second guess raising my hand in class or even speaking up with Robert and Sarah. During Democracy Summer, I took the time to address these issues and figure out how to regain my voice. Jenn said it best during Efland training when she told me to “lean into it”. I took these words, digested them and began to live by her advice. (Thank you, Jenn!)
Democracy Summer has given me the resources and tools to effectively lead advocacy work on campus. I have learned to be flexible, hold others accountable and admit when I have too much on my plate. I know that because of these tools, I can go back and be an even better president of the Student Global AIDS Campaign.
Lastly, I have met awesome people. I have established relationships both personal and professional during these 9 weeks. I have networked and created future job opportunities, I have established campus connections with UNCC and CPCC. Although, there has been rocky situations and tension Sarah and I have become close. Whenever I lost my train of thought during a speaking engagement, she could pick up where I left off or if she needed reassurance, all she had to do was look about 10 inches down and there I was, nodding back at her.
Sitting here, I have realized that Democracy Summer has given me a lot more than I expected and realized. A new sense of self, strength, confidence and re- lit my passion to be an advocate.
Thank you all for this experience and I sincerely hope that we all will continue to Facebook chat, have lunch and hang out!
America – 704!