Spending 3 days with total strangers made a bigger impact on me than I thought it would ever. At the end of sophomore year, I was given an opportunity to attend a seminar called Missouri Leadership Seminar (MLS). This seminar was just for one sophomore from schools all across Missouri. The seminar took place at the University of Central Missouri not too far from home, but it was a good distance. Going into this seminar I had not an idea to expect. I just thought this was going be something with a bunch of strangers. I was expecting everyone was most likely going to be closed off, but I was wrong.
As I pulled to the college, there was a building where all of the students would get dropped off, as my mother and I drove we pulled and we see bright and happy faces of the MLS staff, they helped me with my bags and I got everything I need to get my food and so they could identify me. After I put my things in the dorm room, there was another bed for my roommate but she had not yet arrived. Once I finish with that putting my stuff in my room, I was lead to where the rest of the sophomores who had arrived were at. When I first walked into the gym, I look around and it was about 200 students here all ready and about 100 more coming.
The very first guest speaker was a man and he studies, anthropology, but he did tell us this at first. He gave a sheet of paper that read “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema”. As the group of people, I was sitting with and I read it, it was about a culture obsessed with rituals and the human body as a whole. They did many things that in America we would like were not “normal”. As we finish his told us who this culture was about, it was about modern American. Nacirema is American spelled backward. Once I read all of it again, I began to see the characteristics of North America. In just the first 1 hour of the seminar, I was already shocked.
This writing piece “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” shows how you can view other cultures and how other cultures would view us, that even though it may be odd or foreign it is still their way of life. After we reflected on the article we got our groups that we would be with for the rest of the weekend. After a couple minutes in our groups, we got our warm fuzzies which those are things that if someone gives you a compliment they give you a warm fuzzy and you’ll give them a compliment back and give them a warm fuzzy and a hug. After we had a couple minutes to give our warm fuzzies we had two guest speakers, one was Miss.
Missouri 2015 and our last guest speaker were two men and one woman and they talked about 1 to 1. 1 to 1 is a program that it’s a computer for every child. Which at MRH it is already in place. So mostly everything they talked about I already knew. After everyone had finished taking we reflex with our groups and got to know everyone and then by that time we went to our dorm rooms for the rest of the night. Before we had to stay in our dorm rooms for the rest of the night, some of the girls decide to get to know each other. We stay in the main room and sat our getting to know each other.
As the second day arrived, we all head down to the gym with our groups. The second day was more serious than the first day. This was the day we heard everyone’s story. We begin in a straight line and we had to move up or back according to if the question applied to us or not. This was called the Privilege walk Activity this was one of the first things that build trust between us. This was to learn to see how power and privilege can and do affect our lives when we are not aware of what is happening. After this, we sat with a new group just for this activity. On the table sat a tissue box and a big poster board.
It was split into two it have one type of person and the side had another and we had to write a stereotype of those types of people, after about 3 minutes we would pass the poster board to the next table and the table in front of us would pass their poster board to us, then we would keep doing it in a cycle until the last poster board. Then once we finished writing on the boards, then the head group leaders took the poster boards and sat them in the middle of the gym floor. They pick out the board and the name of the things that were written on the board and if you felt like it affected you, you would get up in front of everyone and talked.
People talked about their stories and people did cry, it made all of us connect in a spiritual way. After they would finish talking about how they felt they had an opportunity to rip up the board. After we finish all of the poster board we got a chance to get up and hug everyone, with emotion running high many people were crying. After we finish with that activity we talked to our main groups, then we head to dinner and we had a dinner with a professional. After we came back from dinner with a professional we made a made blanket and donated them to local veteran’s home.
Once we finished dinner we head back to the gym and we supposed to watch the hunger games because that was the theme of the weekend, but we had a dance party instead, which was fun we got to know most likely everyone and we had a lot of fun. We ended the night by going out to the grass at night and have a reflection, mostly everyone got a chance to talk. We reflected on how we opened up to complete strangers, but we would consider each other strangers anymore we would consider each other friends. That last day was graduation day and pick up day. Before graduation, we took pictures with our group and then the seminar as a whole.
Once we finished that we head back to the gym to go through everything. Eventually, we got to the graduation party. We sat in the college theater with our parents behind us and we sat with our group . One by one each group went up and got their button and sat back down, at the end of the ceremony, we meet back up with our parents, the hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone. You wouldn’t think saying bye to people you meet 2 days ago would be hard but it was. I would recommend this seminar to anyone. You may think it wouldn’t make a big impact on your life but trust me it will.