Wow, is the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Summer Bridge 2010. It's been such an amazing and unexpected walk across this bridge to academic success. Right now I feel like the LUCKIEST person in the world to be sitting here blogging, even though I only lived off of like four hours of sleep today. I'm wowed at all the amazingly kind hearts that I have met and gotten to know this summer. It wows me to think about how the first week of classes we all barley knew how to pronounce each others names and now we leave this class with the knowledge of who each individual in Section1 is outside of the knowledge of the identity of their names. The stories behind everyone's eyes that were shared wowed me inside and out, it caused a wave of emotions, it opened a door for everyone to step out as well as for others to come in. Coming into Rachel's Digital Storytelling class, each of us were a distinctly wrapped gift of all array of colors and shapes. Each gift inside being something unique, personal, and either crazily bouncing to be opened or released, or just hiding in the bottom corner. No matter what gift each of our boxes beheld by the end of this 6 week course, all of us were able to freely let that gift be open and shared among everyone that surrounded. This concept of the "gift" has been something that I enjoyed from the very beginning, I am so glad I was able to let others unwrap my gift, as they allowed me to unwrap theirs. Thank you, all my peer scholars, professors, Ta's, and peer mentors for sharing your gifts with me. Each gift will be treasured in my heart and I hope that one day I can pass on those gift that you all have given me.
One term that I have a better grasp on now through the teachings of Dr. Rachel Raimist and Charles Helm is the term "awareness." Through everything I have learned whether it was about digital storytelling, Oscar Grant, or "Practices of Looking", the significance of being aware has always slipped it's way into my leaning. Through Rachel's class I've learned to be more aware of what is going on in the media, although incidents that are shown in the media may have happened half a world away it still has an effect on me whether I know that it's happening or not. This whole process of learning to tell my truth through a digital story has made me aware of how powerful my female, Hmong American, Chinese proficient speaking voice can be. Through digital stories I can make awareness to things that many people don't see, whether it be through my own personal experience of an issue of society. Through this awareness that I am trying to send out into the community I will give awareness back to myself through realizing things while editing and creating my digital story or through the feedback, questions and comments I receive from viewers. Awareness has not only presented itself to me through digital story telling but also through "Practices of Looking." I never knew that reading these packets would automatically cause me to ask questions of "why," "when," "how," "who," or "where." This knowledge of awareness that grew inside me has been such a wonderful contribution to my everyday life. I've learned so much about influence, judgment, and interpretation that everyday it overwhelms me of how long it took me to really realize the fact that all three of these concepts are things that ultimately have no right or wrong opinion and that's what makes this term "awareness" at the moment a godly figure to me. Thank you Rachel for sharing the importance of digital storytelling with me and allowing me to reach a level of awareness that I never saw within myself. Thank you Charles for allowing me to redefine daily terms like interpretation, influence, judgment, and of course "awareness." :) This redefining process has allowed me to rediscover who I am through these terms and how I value the attendance of each of these aspects of live every day.
One word that I feel that completes this whole experience is the word:balance. All the courses that I got to take advantage of as a Bridge student all had this different aspect of what they were as an independent course but ultimately they had this connection, one that wasn't apparent unless one looked beyond what they originally thought. This concept of balance not only was apparent in our classes but in each and everyone of us. The atmosphere that each one of us gave off every time we entered a room was a crucial element that gave this feeling of tranquility, something that helped defined us as "Summer Bridge 2010." Everything we did here, from the Friday community service events to the fun group events during the Saturdays here created this balance of life, an essence that each and every one of us contributed to as we attended each event. I feel that after completing these courses (Digital Storytelling, General Session, WRIT 1201), after meeting all these kind-hearted individuals, and after engaging myself fully and completely I have this feeling of accomplishment. I balanced out stress, social life, and schoolwork through personal choices. The value of what personal choices are has changed for me, a lot of things that I chose to do while here, might of never been the choice I would of made before being a part of Summer Bridge, and I know that after this program, a lot of things that I have done here, I might not chose to do again. Through all of this critical thinking and analyzing that has take over me through transitioning into a scholar I have this overwhelming feeling of completeness, something that I am very grateful for having attained through my six weeks here.
Thank you everyone for all the support, love, and kindness that I have received as a Bridge student these past six weeks.This is truly an experience like no other, thank you all for sharing this experience with me.You all have made me aware of who I am as well as of who you all are, creating this memorable connection that I will always remember. Thank you all for the gifts you have given me throughout this whole journey, they are gifts that will surround me daily in remembrance of how beautiful each and everyone of you are as individuals. Thank you all for allowing me to see a different side of everything, allowing me to wear you shoes for a moment, as well as put on your cultural caps. Thank you all for being an influence in my life.
<3 Pa Shoua Bly Vang