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I Feel Like I Never Left Gettysburg

June 7, 2011

I arrived in Gettysburg on Saturday in the late afternoon and quickly found out that summer campus is not at all like the fall and spring campuses that I’m used to. It’s much more quiet here than it ever is when school is session. More importantly, I found myself in the grocery store with my mom trying to figure out food to buy for meals that I’d have to cook for myself. For most people this task probably does not feel too daunting. This was not the case for me, a person who has never had to be in charge of buying food to fit together for various different meals.
Other than the food issue, the move in was pretty uneventful. As I lay in bed on Sunday night, thinking about orientation the next day, I began to mentally prepare myself for the summer. Of course, my mind immediately went to the difficulties I would encounter. I thought about my desire to work with people experiencing poverty and how hard it was going to be to connect with people whose life experience was vastly different from my own. More importantly though, I thought about how vitally important it was to me to learn to connect with these people. I guess this is the common experience of all us Heston Interns. We are all learning to connect with people who are vastly different from ourselves; whether they are of a different race, nationality, socio-economic class, speak a different language or practice a different religion. I think the mindset I have to get myself into as the weeks go on is that differences do not necessarily have to force people apart but they can bring people together. I know this sounds on some level corny, but as I prepare myself for the coming months it’s all I have.
Yesterday (Monday) we all had orientation and began to discuss immigration at both a historic and contemporary level. Despite the fact that I have studied immigration multiple times, in multiple classes, I am always amazed at the similarities of discriminative behavior that course through the history of the United States. Is it in human nature for people to force a group into a lower position in society in order to rise themselves up to a higher level? Of course, we do not want to believe that it’s human nature, because this eliminates the possibility that racism or discrimination could be eradicated. However, I am unconvinced that this is really a possibility. There will always be a group at the bottom of the totem pole, differences can be made in the resources and quality of life at the bottom. I think a lot of the programs in which I’m involved here in Gettysburg are focused on bettering the situation of these people.
Well this is getting a little long now. I will talk to you all soon!

Laura

P.S. I successfully made my first dinner on Monday night and didn’t burn anything!

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