Mechanical Engineer

Soliya Reflection

The connecting program was extremely amazing. I am so grateful to this opportunity. I learned how to have an effective dialogue without hurting anyone’s feelings. I was blessed by the openness of students and facilitator to discuss very sensitive topics with no judgments. I was a little bit hesitant at the beginning, though I participated a lot on all of the sessions. I was the most active one but I had this feeling of being a little bet reluctant to talk or to discuss. However, I believe what encouraged me and made me more open is the safe atmosphere and I was not afraid of judgments. Also, I noticed that some people are reluctant to participate and thus I took the initiative to encourage them to participate. In my humble opinion, I think the most important element that mad Soliya more effective than the other types of online communication is the instructions made before the starting of the program. It sort of prepared us to the program and gave us idea about what is expected from us during this program. It told us that we will be connected with people from all over the world and we have to respect each other. If someone accidently made someone feel offended, they should apologize. We know from the beginning that we are going to discuss sensitive topics. The project we were asked to do was very powerful activity as well. It opens our mind to the way that people think. I enjoyed the discussion of the inner voices and whether they are good or bad things. If they are bad how to stop them? If they are good how to make use of them? The openness of people made me feel comfortable to share my own story without being afraid of judgments. They were very kind, considerate and supportive. I had fruitful discussions with them about orphans, women’s rights, inner voices, effective dialogues, and stereotyping. My only comment on the way of fostering constructive communication is that they need to make sure that everyone is eager to participate in the program and not forced to do it. It might be true that in my case I was forced to take this program because it is a part of my grades in the core course. However, I love the theme and I love digital literacies and there was no conflict of interests. I took it because I am eager to learn and listen to different people from different background. However, this is not the case to everyone. Some people were coming to not be considered as absents but they do not actually participate in the discussion or the activities. This reminds me of professor Zan’s class that I have attended before. We had a very fruitful conversation on stereotyping. We saw videos about I am .., but I am not… in which every group of people denies some stereotypes that ther group is known with. For instance, I am a gay but I am not irreligious. Or, I am a Muslim but I am not a terrorist. I enjoyed this video and I wanted to clarify something about my group and I said I am an orphan but I am not ignorant. However, some people due to the fact that this was a normal class and attendance will be taken came just to be counted as presents. They do not participate in the class. I remember this guy in our breakup room who did not even bother to turn on the mic to say hi. Thus, I believe if something can be done to test the willingness of people to take this program before starting it like an interview or quick quiz, it will make the environment even safer and engaging. Overall I am so blessed with this experience and looking forward to repeat it.

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