My co-adviser for TAF, Lawrence, had the brilliant idea to give our small group 10-15 minutes each day to just free write. We would hang onto these so-called reflections for them, and give it all back to our campers at the end of the week for them to keep and look back on at a later date.
While our campers wrote reflections I wrote as well, and it is interesting to see how my tone changed over the week. My first reflection was more like a recap of the previous day. It sounded like a crappy 4th grade book report. I barely wrote more than a page. It seemed like I was just observing, and not really involved in TAF. “Registration went smoother than I thought.” That’s the the deepest I could muster.
The second reflection was much better and it was written only a day after the first one. My handwriting was more relaxed and it was a true free-write as I just wrote down things as they came into my mind. Select excerpts:
Today I cried for the first time at TAF. I was afraid that these tears I had been holding back for so long were going to come out this week. Yet, during Alex and mine one-on-one I wasn’t afraid to cry…..
I wrote down my first bullet point of my life mission statement and sat back only to be shocked into snapping forward again. “I want to help others, and through helping others, help myself.” BAM. It hit me like a truck. THIS, what I wrote down, is what TAF is ALL about! How coincidental that I came to this realization about this passion of mine at a place that runs on this mentality. I couldn’t help but smile to myself, knowing that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here at this moment.
Unfortunately, we only had time for one more reflection, this one written two days after the second one. My handwriting is borderline illegible. I remember being annoyed that I couldn’t write any faster. The thoughts were flowing, the words were coming, and I was just scrambling to get these words down. This reflection was twice as long as the other ones. However, I was actually quite stressed by this point in the week. For some reason I was starting to freak out. I had forgotten about this not-so-good day until I reread the reflection today.
BLAHHH my goodness, I almsot cried in front of my small group today. UGH. I know they wouldn’t judge and would support me, and I know that letting these tears out would be good for me but I just can’t do it. Do I really hate crying that much? Or is it another reason?
To find so many people like me is incredible. I am learning so much from my small group and I hope they are learning from me as well.
Sometimes I feel like I mess up and say the wrong thing so Lawrence has to come in and save my idiotic and insensitive ass. I feel so bad for my campers when I make a poor comment because I am afraid they’ll take it the wrong way. I also feel ashamed and afraid I’m letting Lawrence down. I want to prove so badly to him, Alex, Karen, Youth sTAFf, and myself that I can do this! That I can be a selfless person again and show true servant leadership. I still have a long way to go though.
I’m happy to say that by the end of the week I was more confident in my ability to be a good adviser, and that the support I received from my co, the PD’s, and the rest of sTAFf erased the feeling of fear. It is fantastic to have these reflections to look back on and remember that there were moments of self-doubt. These thoughts I wrote down remind me that I worked hard to get to the end of the week, and that being an adviser didn’t just “come to me.” I had internal struggles. But because the week overall went great, I can look back and say that I grew as a person and as an adviser.