Identity and Impact Forthcoming

This is it. The final post. As many of you have already said, it feels like the end and the beginning. This feeling leaves me both reminiscent and anxious. I’m excited to see all that will become of this.

How was what you learned unique to you?

What was truly unique to me was finding parts myself in each class. My largest takeaway is a developing identity. This class was different from any other class in that way. From the first day forward, I came into class focused on becoming someone, someone significantly better than the man that walked in the door that day. I was never once worried about memorizing the material, cramming for a test, or filibustering a paper. Every part of the education provided in this class was more real than that. I believe it was real because it was free of superficial measurements of success. What we did mattered, but who we became was held as much more important. We weren’t afraid of failing and trying again. Grades barely crossed our minds. The achievements I have made in other classes have mostly only ever been driven by the desire to get a good grade and pick up some knowledge along the way. Here, we left the grades behind us, tossed judgment into the wind, and truly explored what it meant to become someone greater than who we now are and, along the way, help others do the same.

What then? What now of my identity? And how am I going to press forward?

At the onset of this journey, I don’t know exactly how to press forward. I know my passions and am developing my skill-set. While the path to successfully improving our education systems is unclear, I’m open to surprises. What I do know is that I care about the future and the wholeness of others. I am naturally inclined to go to surprisingly great lengths to insure the happiness of those who surround me. I know that I cannot remain passive when so many remain impacted by some really big problems. The lessons learned in this class have helped me to understand part of who I am and the roles I can potentially play in the field of social innovation. In short, learning who I am had been the most unique to me.

How will you apply self-reflection and layered learning throughout your life?

Overall, I felt this class has essentially been a self-reflection boot camp. Because of my experiences here, I’ve recognized the value of effective self-reflection. I write in my journal every night and use that time to reflect on my day and my plans for the following day. I would like to make self-reflection a more streamlined process though. So far it has only been a random, nebulous recording of thought. I plan on having effective self-evaluation become an essential part of my decision making processes throughout my life. I will schedule a specific time to ponder questions similar to the following as I make significant decisions:

What is your vision for this decision?
What is the reality of this decision?
What role do play in this decision?
What are your fears?
Where does your confidence lay?
How will this decision impact you?
How will this decision achieve your vision?

The answers to these questions will also assist me in my apprenticeship with the problems I will inevitably face. I believe this is where layered learning comes into play. One lesson that greatly influenced my perspective on life-long learning was that only by identifying the root causes of a problem and understanding how they cause the problem will we be able to make any headway in resolving these issues. With that being said, my career will hopefully be filled with a variety of experiences with a variety of fields. This will take time. But I believe that if I use this time to effectively learn the many layers of an issue I will be better able to really do good better.

Layered learning is the skill that demands the most patience from me. Self-reflection requires the most honesty. Both are skills that I hope to use throughout my life to continue to develop my character and further my influence in the field of social innovation.

In the end, I want to say thank you to each of you. Thank you Todd, Jessamyn, and Lanee for putting together such an incredible experience for us. I’m certain that it did not come without much persistence, patience, and sacrifice on your part. I hope you feel that it has been entirely worth all you’ve endured. I feel privileged to have been part of such a great experience.

To the rest of you social innovation fanatics, thank you for your positive influence in my life. We were all part of something that I feel has fundamentally changed us. Let’s do something about.

With a resilient hope for a better world, I end with two quotes that most inspire me.

“By the grace of God I am who I am.”
and
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

Let us do something. Something good. Something better. Something together.

Always your friend,
Alex

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