I had a rocky start to 2022. Throughout the first term, I noticed I wasn’t as motivated as previous years. I wasn’t motivated to complete assignments, but also, I wasn’t wanting to explore, to learn, and to inquire. The basis for PLP learning. I attempted to fix this through multiple solutions, but none of them proved to be long-term solutions that would consistently work. I struggled with this problem until our trip to Loon Lake. We took a step back from our learning to reflect on areas we could improve, then advanced to improve these areas through goal setting.
I came into loon lake expecting a retreat from responsibility and learning. This couldn’t have been farther from reality though. I would have great learning and great reflection ahead of me. As we first pulled into the Loon Lake parking lot I felt a sense of excitement. We already had many fun activities planned for the coming days including canoeing, high ropes, climbing, and archery. All planned with Pinnacle Pursuits. Up to this point in the trip, and day one as a whole. I was only at a surface level of learning, not willing to go deeper to get something valuable out of this trip.
As the week continued, we were introduced to goal setting. A valuable aspect of the learning process. Setting goals is a crucial part of the learning progress as it’s a way to track progress and adapt whilst learning.
I ended up forming a goal based on the area of myself that needed the most improvement and something that could be easily tracked and improved throughout the Loon Lake learning advance. I realized that my futile attempts to regain motivation had been in vain as they hadn’t gotten to the source of the problem. To achieve a state of motivation I needed to spark my interest in topics. I could do this by immersing myself in said topic. To immerse myself in my learning I would have to connect and engage with more people.
Through connecting and engaging with more people, It would stimulate interest in my learning and thus I would become motivated. Connecting and engaging with more people would also help me later in life as I would have built connections through my experiences.
So what does connecting and engaging with more people look like? It looks like asking questions, starting conversations with new people, keeping connections and relationships ongoing, and adding value to interactions.
Although my goal is not an achievable one, but one that’s always improving, I felt I improved it greatly through the Loon Lake learning advance.
1. Talking with new people. After setting my goal, I was eager to put it into action, and during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I sat with and talked to new people. At breakfast, I sat with Jordan. We talked about our goals and how we would reach them. We exchanged ideas and insight into our values. Overall I found this interaction very beneficial. It was the first step outside of my comfort zone and opened the door for future interactions with new people. At lunch, I talked with Johnny. We talked about the benefits of Field Studies and other PLP-specific learning aspects. Through my conversation with Johnny, I found myself asking many questions about his take on things and ended up with some personal key takeaways from the conversation. Finally, at dinner, I talked with Nathan whilst waiting for our food. We talked about the benefits of the Pinnacle Pursuits excursions and how we found value in each activity. As sitting with new people was the first step toward my goal, it also brought the most improvement, and boosted my confidence in connecting and engaging with new people.
2. Secondly, the Pinnacle Pursuits company that led our excursions and the owner, John helped me realize the value of connections. (Their website even mentions connecting and engaging of people!) John shared an anecdote about how a client contacted him many years later talking to him about how Pinnacle Pursuits changed his life and was super beneficial. This flicked a switch in my brain and helped me recognize how not only engaging with new people, but also maintaining these relationships could be so valuable later in life. Further relating to my goal.
I also found value in the Pinnacle Pursuits excursions. Specifically, during the high ropes course, it ended up being a great bonding experience for Eliot and I. Advancing our relationship in a constructive manner, and creating new connections for the both of us. This connection being exceptional as it’s a cross-country connection. Between a Belgian and Canadian.
The whole pinnacle pursuits experience helped me realize the advantages of having a great network of connections. One of the main outcomes of connecting and engaging with new people.
3. My final piece of evidence is how I was able to use my own experiences and expertise to engage with new people. During the climbing activity, I was able to connect with John, Jakub, and everyone in our group. Firstly, I wanted to put myself out there in the climbing activity as climbing is one of my hobbies. I volunteered to belay one side of the climbing walls. Through this, I started a conversation with John and obtained a further understanding of his story and the story of Pinnacle Pursuits. I was also able to take away a hard skill from this interaction which was belaying. I was able to connect with Jakub through our shared interest in climbing. We shared climbing tips, and how we entered the sport of climbing. Overall, it was an engaging, valuable exchange. Finally, I was able to engage with the whole climbing group using my experience in climbing. I volunteered to attempt to climb without looking. This would create a group dynamic with clear, efficient communication, and would strengthen my bond with each group member.
What did I learn and get out of this trip?
Through the Loon Lake field study, I gained the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone. I experienced the value of networking and connections. I learned how to effectively connect and engage with people and take value out of the interaction. I learned how to ask thought-provoking questions to add my own value to conversations. I learned how to maintain relationships. Not only did I grasp the concept of the big ideas, but I also learned many little things. I learned how to belay, how to work in a team, and how to canoe properly.
This tutorial video I created after the fact, encompasses my whole learning through the guidance of my goal.
Once we returned from the trip, we set up conferences with our teacher to complete a guided reflection of the trip. I believe I worked towards my goal and achieved a great amount of progress.
Overall, my growth throughout this trip was extraordinary. I believe I set the perfect goal for myself and had the right expectations for what I could realistically complete on the trip. I grew in my confidence to approach people. I grew in my conversation skills, and I grew to become a more motivated person through connections with people leading to inquiry-based learning.