Immersion breeds self-development
October 29, 2010
That is how you are meant to feel.
You are in a situation without a script to follow. You are out of place – in the minority. How do you react?
This is not some theoretical question confined to the safety of a classroom.
Students in Dr. Jennifer Robin’s Leadership and Interpersonal Relations class (BMA 357) must immerse themselves into real life situations to answer this question.
In Robin’s immersion assignment, students develop leadership skills by learning about another culture and discovering effective ways to respond to new and stressful situations.
Robin thinks it takes more than sitting in a classroom to become a leader.
“While class is valuable to help students get to know themselves and shift their perspectives, it isn't until someone is out interacting with others that they begin to develop as a leader,” Robin said.
Katherine Siemer, a senior at Bradley, said this assignment pushed her to do something she typically wouldn’t have done.
“I generally like to try new things but I have a hard time making myself do something that isn't on a normal schedule,” Siemer said. “Since I had to do the assignment for class, it was a great excuse to get out and do something different.”
Siemer, a practicing Catholic, decided to attend a Jewish Hillel service.
“It was really great,” Siemer said. “I guess I learned that I don't need to be nervous going into other places of worship. People are more willing to accept me than I originally thought."
Staci Tons, another BMA 357 student, chose to do something entirely different. She decided to ride a CitiLink bus. In her hometown of St. Louis, people rely more on cars to get from place to place, according to Tons. So, using public transportation was a new experience for her.
“I learned a lot about valuing diversity and having respect for others who may be different than I am,” Tons said.
Tons thinks the immersion process transformed her.
“I was secluding myself a little from other types of people and so this has changed my outlook on life,” Tons said. “I am thankful to have had this opportunity.”