Hey guys, recently I went on a field school for our most recent project about Stories of Hope and I have to say it was one of the most impactful trips I’ve ever been on. However, before we can get there it is important to talk about the context of the trip so you can understand my thinking throughout. The project, like I mentioned before, is about stories of hope and how we can learn and draw inspiration from people and communities who have faced tragedy and overcome adversity. However, we were focusing on the American South and Midwest for what stories we were looking at. Some examples that were shared with us before we left on the trip were of the Oklahoma City bombing, The Branch Davidian Compound, and the assassination of JFK.
As we were preparing to leave we were to create a pitch for what the video we were going to make about the stories of hope would focus on. It was basically a thesis statement. My thesis at the time was
“Through stories of overcoming adversities we can learn the importance of growing and bettering yourself through resilience and we can draw inspiration from those who have faced unimaginable tragedy and have not let it define them.”
But when I look at it now I can tell that I was grasping at straws. The truth is that at that point, while I knew how I wanted to share these stories of hope, I didn’t know what my point was in sharing these stories. I could build a video off of this idea but it would be weak and thoughtless. Luckily, on the trip I found the connection to all of these stories and how I would bring them all together.
I remember the moment very clearly. It was only a few days into the trip and we were on a two hour drive to Oklahoma City to see the Memorial there. I was sitting in my little nook in the back of our van diligently counting American flags and injury lawyer ads when I thought it would be a good chance to look at what we had seen so far in the trip and try to build my answer to our driving question. I thought about the civil rights activists that we learned about at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and how they faced lynchings and beatings and they still fought for the rights of all people of colour in America. I thought about the holocaust survivors who faced some of the most horrible things to ever be done to humans and still tell their stories so that something like that will never happen again. I thought about so many other stories that we had learned about and that I knew of people overcoming adversity and pushing to make the world better so that the no one else will have to faced what they have faced. All of these thoughts were flying through my head and I found what I wanted my video to be about.
I wrote it down in my journal right next to my math homework with a few examples shown like a mini mindmap. It said
“These people have seen the worst of humanity and the world and still believe that they can make it better and that it can get better.”
With museums, memorials, and civil rights pointing out of it. From that point on I planned my shots and interviews around the idea that people and communities fight to make the world better when faced with adversity. I focused on the inspiration we can take form these people and how we can learn from them to fight today so that tomorrow is better.
By the end of the project when I had made my video, while I had improved on my original thesis I think I could have gone even deeper with my answer. Had I come up with my final answer at the start of the project I think I would have been able to plan doing stand ups a lot better and focused not only on those who have faced adversity but those we talked to and what they had learned from the stories of hope we were studying.