It’s hard to believe that half the year is almost over. So much has happened and I am endlessly grateful for all my new experiences that have happened as a result of Big Picture. I live for experiences. I put adventure seeker as the first descriptor on my portfolio website’s home page, and there is one quote I’ve found that relates my mind to my time in Big Picture. “Cease thinking of education as the preparation for life, but rather life itself.” I have never been as engaged sitting in a classroom as I have being out in the world and doing things. The simplicity of learning in the most basic way is not enough to keep me as engaged as I want to be. This is why I appreciate Big Picture learning because it allows me to learn things through the course of doing things, and as a result, learn them better than I otherwise would.
Also I have found that I absolutely love the community of Big Picture. I believe that there is a specific type of person who decides to join BP. There is a lot of variety, but we are all ready and willing to step outside the norm and take things into our own hands. And these are the people who intrigue me the most.
The semester was harder than I expected. There is a different kind of thinking you have to do to be in BP. But it was also some of the most rewarding time that I have experienced. Since I’m taking two classes in addition to doing Big Picture, my situation is a little different than those of most. It is something that has been hard to learn how to deal with, but I have learned. I have never been great at time management, but Big Picture has altered that. I still am not the best at planning how much time I’ll need for things, but my procrastination habit has eased a little bit. This I know is because I no longer dread the work I’m doing. I am now much more able to come to an idea and make it happen. I actively seek out opportunities now. Since I have begun to be encouraged to take my natural path of exploration, I have moved towards actually taking it in most situations, rather than spending my time angry about not being able to do anything and thus doing even less than I would otherwise. I have done two of my required interviews, volunteer work, and a shadow day so far, and they have all been incredibly rewarding, might I even say the best days I have had in Big Picture so far. As long as I can remember, trips have always been my favourite part of school. I know there are some people whose comfort zone stays within the school, but I imagine my comfort zone to be as big as the world.
I reflect on my learning a decent amount I think. I am naturally introspective, using every opportunity to know more about myself. Looking back through my journal I’ve made some significant breakthroughs about how to best approach my learning in this new situation. Multiple areas in my learning are different from those of most. I’ve learned a lot about how I think, including that my mind goes through a long period of consideration and then works extra hard when I fully have my idea. I also now know that it is alright for me to keep my projects on a smaller scale because I do so much extra stuff outside of school. Keeping a journal has been useful for me because sometimes when my discoveries don’t build on each other as much, I forget things that may be useful in the future. It is interesting to look back and see what I learned when, what I enjoyed, and notice foreshadowing that I didn’t see during the moment.
In terms of contributing to the school, I have been a student rep, attending lunch meetings every Monday to discuss upcoming events, and ways to approach situations that might need work or tweaking inside the BP community. I was on the Student Gathering planning committee, and a facilitator. While that was a bit emotionally draining for me, I think we all learned a lot about other learning opportunities in our area and I would love to see it happen again. I have done a bit of awareness raising for Big Picture in the MMU and also SB community. I am on MMU Dance Team, and sometimes I read quotes from the BP quote box. Also, not to toot my own horn, but I suggested grilled cheese lunch day.
Outside of school, I have been doing a fair bit. I did some volunteer work at the Vermont International Film Festival, where unfortunately I was not able to see any of the films but the people know me now and I will hopefully be back next year. I did an interview with Justin Crowther at the Burlington Record plant where I learned about the process of creating a record, and the benefits to working in Burlington. I also interviewed Dan Bolles and Jordan Adams from the Seven Days, from whom I learned about music journalism and the local Burlington music scene. I went to a shadow day at Crow’s Path, where I met kids and hiked on the cliffs overlooking lake Champlain. It was a highlight for sure. I very much enjoyed all the other places we went as part of Intro to CBL (the farm, election day polling, ronald mcdonald house, bca, generator, and vermont violins). It seems as though I am more curious about new possibilities than ever. I’ve also been dancing a lot. I’m in a dance adaptation of Oliver that will be performed in April, and am participating in the MMU Dance Team program. I am a cellist in Vermont Youth Philharmonia, and a “Barder” in Way of the Bard. I also take a ballet class on Thursdays and go to concerts whenever possible. So, there is a lot. However, I can count it all as school work, thanks to Big Picture.
In the future I hope to have an internship at Crow’s Path, and also pursue the dream of becoming a radio programmer. I want to have another outside shadow day. I also am planning on taking at least one college class but I recognise that it most likely won’t happen until next year. I still need to practice planning and prioritizing, and working even when I feel that I am not in a state of enough creativity. Another thing I could work on is wrapping everything up fully. I have always been prone to not completely finishing everything that I start. Since my brain sometimes moves faster than my fingers, I end up ahead of myself. So, I could stand to start on a smaller scale and build up rather than start on a large scale and work that much harder to condense things. I still have graduation requirements like the Science Fair, Research Paper, and STP in my future, and though they may be far off, I have an STP idea already. Stay tuned. It has to do with bringing a European movie to the United States, and it might be my final interview as well.