Day 28: Why I Came to Microcampus
Before I came to Xizhou, I wanted to join Microcampus so that I can experience the world outside the "bubble." I wanted to experience less modernized and developed city. I have lived in Shanghai all my life. I thought Xizhou would be calm and quiet and nothing like old towns that are made for tourists. I also expected it to have many old and half broken houses. Obviously, when we arrived, I saw a lot more newly built houses and quite a few tourists.
On the first week of Microcampus, I experienced the difference between not following "the box" and following "the box." When we did not follow "the box," the days were slow and we never knew what to do. We had a lot of free time because we did not know what to do. Then on Day 6, we had a long talk which made me realize what "the box" is. I saw the boundaries of "the box" and started to notice things differently. I saw how important the weekly schedule was and how important it was to fill it out so we know exactly what to do. I also saw why there was a set amount of time that was given to us to finish our work. the days became more busy and we had many more things to do. We went over the Big 4 which is the Microcampus vision. I saw how important each one was: Experiential Learning, Positive Impact, Personal Growth, and Intercultural Experience. That is when I realized how important "the box" is and part of the experience here at Mircocampus.
During the first two weeks of Microcampus, I realized what it was like to connect with people outside of the "bubble." I felt very awkward and shy at the beginning because I did not know if the locals would want to talk to me. When I talked to one of the first locals I have talked to, there were awkward pauses and it was mostly Mr. T helping me. Even after talking to one local that was really welcoming and comfortable with talking to me, it took me a while to get comfortable. After talking to about 7 people, I learned to be more friendly and less awkward with people. I learned to connect with different people and different attitudes.
During the whole 4 weeks or 28 days. I became a lot closer to Mr. T, Ms. Mai, and the students within the group. I did not know the students in the group very well when we arrived. I barely talked to any of them at school or anywhere else. Throughout this trip, I became closer to all of them and I learned a lot about them. I feel like now, we are much more compact as a group and we can rely on each other. This is like a new family to me. They will always be there supporting me. We have been through the ups and downs of the trip together and we have pulled through. I learned how to work very well with this group. I have never spent so much time with a teacher outside of class. We enjoyed our meals together, we had many trips together, and I talked so much with them. I got to know Mr. T and Ms. Mai a lot and they have both shared so many of their own stories with me. I will miss everyone I have met and this has been a truly great experience because without the teachers or the students, this trip would not be able to happen.
Also during the 4 weeks here, I learned to not procrastinate and to always stay dialled in when I work because then, I could complete my work efficiently and of high quality. If I procrastinate, I learned that things will pile up and there will be a whole ton of work at the end. That happened to me during the third week of Microcampus. We had a lot of things to finish and so when I only procrastinated for about 5 minutes every day, I ended up with a lot more work to do.
During the last week of Microcampus, we had a lot of work to finish. we were closing off our trip and so we had Service Learning overlapping Inquiry work. It was a tough time but I stayed dialled in and we managed to complete everything. It was a stressful and I had many doubts and times where I wanted to give up but I kept telling myself to keep going and that if I work hard enough, it will turn out just fine. At last, everything is now over and I did pull through.
The Microcampus experience has made me grow as a person, a student, and a learner. It has changed me in ways I would have never imagined. This experience will stay with me forever and the lessons I have learned are very valuable. Everyone has made this trip truly unique and memorable. Also every decision we made has shaped this trip in a way I never imagined in the beginning. Thank you Xizhou and Mircocampus, I will miss everything you have taught me.