Michelle Bata attended our Write to Change the World seminar in NYC in March. The seminar challenged her to think more carefully and expansively about her knowledge and experience, and why it matters:
I spend my days teaching college students how to think of themselves as experts on their own lives, so Saturday’s session was a real gut check for me to think about how I model that for the students with whom I work.
As the inaugural director of Clark University’s Center for Liberal Education and Effective Practice, my job is to prepare students to lead meaningful lives through personal and professional development.
In particular, Saturday’s session made me think about some of the female students I’ve encountered, and the degrees to which they’ve expressed shame, a lack of confidence, or even hesitation about their backgrounds and experiences. The workshop made me reflect on the ways in which they have held themselves back, self-selected out of opportunities, and committed various acts of self-sabotage all because they couldn’t recognize the value of their own experience, and dare I say the value of their own voice.
And how can I expect that from them if I don’t practice what I preach?
So what I’m taking away from day is that I have an obligation to hone my professional development, share my expertise, and support others as they work towards similar goals. And, I have an obligation to do so because of my experience, my privilege, and my position as a model to others.
But what I’m really taking away is the inspiration that comes from learning that I can do this. And that is the most valuable aspect of this seminar of all.
Want to join us next time? We have a Write to Change the World seminar coming up in NYC on May 3. Visit out website for more details.
We are also hosting a writing group for NYC alums on the third Wednesday of every month. For more details, please contact Ruby at firstname.lastname@example.org.