Fall 2015 arrives!
Our fall 2015 cohort has arrived and it is already clear that this semester will leave an extraordinary mark on our school’s history.
After some initial ice-breaking activities and a student-chosen trip to Malcolm X Park, an empanada-and-salad dinner, our opening orientation, and our first dorm meeting, the students settled in for their first night. The next morning, the students helped the faculty prep brunch, went for an inaugural run on the National Mall, and then Metro-ed to our Dupont Circle Academic building.
Once there, they embarked on an afternoon titled “Leadership, Part I” highlighted by some of SEGL’s classic low ropes course-style activities: trust falls (fully supervised, of course!), the Minefield, the Dream Reach, and the treacherous Spiderweb. In addition to accelerating our positive group dynamic, these activities are designed to help each student reflect on her/his leadership and collaboration skills: to provide a base line from which to grow. Our group demonstrated an ability toward provocative and lively discussion early on: our first conversation went a full hour longer than scheduled!
Prior to the session, we discussed the four keys to success in SEGL’s academic program (we will let you speak with a current student to hear more!):
1. Being smart doesn’t make you smart. Practice makes you smart.
2. The best learning happens in an atmosphere of shared vulnerability. If you are afraid of sounding dumb, you won’t learn.
3. Narrow your gap.
4. It is no use trying to be clever. We are all clever here. Just try to be kind; a little kind.
After a trip to the drug store for missing essentials and dinner from District Taco (a local DC favorite), we started our first academic session. Like many things in our first few days together, our first academic session is an SEGL tradition. Together we watched live CNN coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks–a difficult thing even for these students, who have only the faintest of memories of the day–and then we reflected on the aftermath and meaning of those events.
Our conversation afterwards was insightful, empathetic, and forward-looking: an auspicious moment for a terrific group of young people ready to grow.
Today we chase after Skittles (more on that later this week) and classes begin!