March 27th- In the neighbourhood

For this week’s second journal reflection I want to talk about today’s educative experience. Today I felt like I was out of my comfort zone even before the class began, as the class was at the downtown location. As soon as Phoebe went through the class instructions I become anxious about the educative experience. One of the things that made it easier for me to engage in this experience was how easy it was to get along with my partner, Deena. We were both on the same page and were willing to give this experience a try. When we were walking to the bus stop I just remember thinking in panic “how are we going to go through all of these?” However, when we got on the bus we started a conversation with a lady on the bus, and were surprised by how nice and willing she was to talk to us. This in turn made me feel more confident about the experience and made me realize that it was not so bad. Following this we sparked up conversations with other people and followed the instructions. At this point, I felt more at ease and came to the realization that it is not as bad as it seems. One of the things that stood out to me the most about this activity was how many people were uneasy, threatened or alarmed by seeing Deena walking blindfolded. In addition I felt like people were shaming us for having done something they consider as socially unacceptable.

Stepping out of my comfort zone brought out a new perspective to my life. I feel like we are very conformed to societal norms and expectations that behaviours that are outside this comfort zone make people feel uncomfortable. This is evident through my own initial reaction to the activity and from the responses we received from other people. Additionally, I got to experience the prejudice and shame certain people elicit when they display behaviour that is recognized as “socially unacceptable”. This occurred when I sat in the garbage bag on the floor. I felt that even though I was trying to make eye contact with other people and read their expressions, people just pretended I was not a part of their world. Also, I thought that they would think I am a teenager that “ran away from home”. I got to learn that we all form these sorts of assumptions as a form to justify odd behaviour but are not open-minded enough to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Overall, I found that stepping out of my comfort zone pushes me to be someone that feels free, one that society may not want me to be, and one that may become labeled. This is evident in classrooms today by how we perceive grades. Each student is judged and labeled by the grades they receive, and not by the progress or initiative they take. We are looking for the students who get “A’s” and form negative assumptions about students who get “F’s”.

Lastly, I discovered a new perspective that is different to my own. This new-found perspective has motivated me to stop forming judgments and assumptions about other people and to be more open-minded and optimistic! At the end of the day your toughest critic is yourself.

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