This project started at the beginning of this semester, so we’ve covered many things. Most of the things we learned were how to improve your happiness, and what it was exactly, which we found was different for each individual. We learned about happiness by watching videos and movies, such as Happy, and by reading Brave New World. In Happy we learned that when you ask people, “What do you want to accomplish in life?” one of the top answers in happiness. I think one reason people are always searching to find it is because they are looking for it in really big things, like houses, cars, and having a lot of money. I think that instead they should look in the little things they have. For example, in Happy, one man found that he likes being an aid for people who need help, so he works in a hospital in a foreign country. For me it’s being around the people I love and care about. In Brave New World, people were creating false happiness. They did this by taking a pill called soma that would make them feel sort of high or drunk. If they were sad, they would just take the pill and everything would be better. I think Sara had us read and watch both of these because she was trying to show us that some things won’t make you happy, and we had to figure out what those were.
Throughout this project, I realized that my truth of happiness is being with people I love. This includes family and friends. One section of this project was our happiness experiments, and I chose to do meditation for mine. I soon discovered that meditation was not making me happier, which was a let down, but I was determined to find what it was. On Friday (which was the fifth day I had done it) I was with a friend. I think that that affected the meditation, but not in a bad way. I thought about what made me really happy while I was meditating, and I realized that I am happiest when I am with my friends. The greatest challenge I faced during this project was while my group and I were making our video. We did not plan everything out very well, and ended up falling behind on the project. It was very stressful and I didn’t think we were going to be able to finish it on time. I talked to my group about it so we could see what we all could do to get it done when it needed to be. We ended up deciding to work on it during other classes as well, and we thankfully we finished it on time. However, we had to rush it at the end, and we weren’t able to include everything we wanted to which was disappointing. During this project, I think I grew most in communication as a group member. This is because we had to face and overcome many challenges, so we had to talk to each other a lot. I do think that this was a good group for me to be in because we all communicated very well with each other. I think that if I had had the same challenges in a different group, it would have been harder to talk to them about them, but we all saw things the same way, and thought of ways to fix things. Overall, it strengthened my communication skills because I now realize what kind of people I get along with the best in working environments, and I never had to tell anyone what to do unless they asked for a job. I think that if I had to refine one thing in this project it would be our video. We did a terrible job taking responsibility for what we had to do and videotape, and it resulted in a bad video. If I could go back in time and change the way we took control of things, I would make sure we got all of the clips we needed in the first two weeks, and editing in the last one. I think this would have been much more beneficial for us because then we would have gotten everything we wanted into the video, and it would have been much better.
Socialization and mask Project
For the first semester of 9th grade, we did the socialization and mask project. We learned about the different categories of socialization (age, race, religion, ability/disability, sexual orientation, class, and gender). We watched videos and read articles at the beginning of the project to gain background research, and read a book called Mexican Whiteboy. We wrote essays about 2-3 of the categories of socialization that we felt impacted us most. Later on, we made masks to symbolize how we felt, how we see ourselves/society, etc.
Throughout this project, I think that I grew most as a writer in my mask paragraph. Yes, I like my essay, but I think that I could have done a much better job on it over all. I think that I’m most proud of the mask section because I felt like I was putting myself onto the paper. In my opinion, the best sentences were, “...I added flowers. To show that we are always growing and changing, and that over time things will get better and we won’t have to worry about them anymore.” I tried to connect my mask to things that I see. So, I added the flowers for that reason, and because I think that everyone is beautiful on the inside, and that should be recognized.
The biggest takeaway I have from this project is how messed up the world really is. I know that sounds pretty negative, but it’s true. We have a lot of fixing to do. For example, we watched a video while we were still learning about the different categories of socialization. It was about a riot happening in a large city. People were arguing that black people shouldn’t be able to live there because of their skin color. People started arguing against it in ways that were peaceful, but the other people didn’t like that. They ended up driving a car into the crowd and seriously injuring some people. This was one of the main things we learned about that made me realize that we need to help racism (and many more things), because it is really getting out of control. Do to this, I started simply thinking about what I was going to say about someone before I said it. Not because it would be racist or offensive in any way, but I wanted people to hear me and try to help the world by doing simple things like trying not to say potentially racist things.
I don’t think I was very good at being a project worker in the beginning of this project because I like to be in charge and make sure everything is planned out step by step, so I tried really hard not to do that. I think that it really helped me because I figured out that other people are also great leaders. By the end of this project, all of the members in my group were leaders. I thought this was really cool because we would talk about things that we might have disagreed on so that everyone would be happy. At the beginning of the project, I think I was trying to “win my spot” as the group leader, and so was one of my group members. But over time we both stepped down and everyone else stepped up. For example, when we were setting up for exhibition, we all said what we wanted it to look like. Unfortunately, all of our ideas were different, but we talked about each one, and ended up combining all of them to make it perfect.
I think that I really helped my group by making sure we had everything we needed. For example, I made sure we had all of the masks strung so we could hang them at exhibition, and I made sure we had quotes from everyone's’ essay so we could use them at exhibition. I was obviously not the only one contributing to these things, because I had a really constructive group and we all worked very well together. Overall, I think that this project was really fun and the exhibition turned out really well, but I do think I would change a couple things. I think we should have had a little more time to work on our rooms for exhibition because some of the seniors said that they didn’t agree with some of the statistics some of the rooms had. If we had had an extra week or so to work on them, we could have learned much more on our rooms and it probably would have been more informative. I also think that we should have laminated the essays that we stapled to the wall so it looked more professional.