Day 28: Why I Came to Microcampus
"No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away."
-Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
End. I cannot imagine how far we have overcome as the 2019 Wildfires Microcampus participants. Thinking of why I came to Microcampus, actually, I do not have a specific answer to this broad question. Months ago Microcampus was still an unfamiliar name to me. 28 days ago when Xizhou was an unknown place to me, even though I have studied the geography of Yunnan and some history of Xizhou, Xizhou was still an unknown place. Until I have truly come to this place, I have unquestionably learned about this place and the culture. Throughout this trip, we are fully exposed to the real world outside of our Shanghai Bubble. During the 28 days, we need to be responsible for our own actions and keeping ourselves inside the "Box." Along with four continua, expanding intercultural understanding, personal growth, working through challenges, and lastly awareness of impact. When I was writing the application to join Microcampus there was one phrase that I wrote that I could still remember clearly, "This is the opportunity where I could challenge myself to my best ability and could also help strengthen my communicating skills with people I don't usually talk to." I truly think this experience was like what I have written in my application. I have grown so much as the internal mindset.
I have worked through challenges individually and with group members. I have learned that within one sentence of words said, there could be multiple representations and multiple interpretations from different people. As I was working on my inquiry project, tie-dye, I have discovered that for some people tie-dye could be a small bit of their life. On the other hand, tie-dye is life for some people. People are willing to dig deeper to learn this traditional art is to either earn money or to satisfy high personal interest. While learning tie-dye, this project relates to everything in our current lifestyle. Why I came to Microcampus? Why did I come to Microcampus? It was the questions that I have never asked myself before. Well, it is a hard one. I have chosen to come to Microcampus, definitely not for money, but for personal interest. I was interested in digging dipper into myself. Myself, as a learner, as a student, and as a person. I was interested in challenging oneself. I was interested in exploring the world outside the 'Shanghai Bubble,' as described to us, out of our comfort zone.
As time passes in Xizhou, I have asked myself many whys. Why was I interested in challenging myself. Maybe because I am too bored? Maybe not. Maybe because I think life is too easy, so I have to find some trouble for myself? Maybe not. Maybe because every time when I heard of the word 'challenging,' the first thing that comes to mind was giving up before even trying anything? Personally, I do not like the phrase 'working through challenges.' I think there is no such thing as challenging because if I say something is challenging and I have never tried it, I do not have the qualification to say it was challenging. If I overcame the 'challenge' which means it is accomplished, it is no longer a challenge. And when things are accomplished, only things that are more advanced comes up. It's like games, there are different levels and they are never called 'challenge #1' nor 'challenge #2.' I came to Microcampus to discover the more advanced.
A quote Mr. T always brings up, "I want what I want when I wanted." That is the truth, nowadays people want what they want when they wanted it. I came to Microcampus to reduce my longing that was not necessarily needed. Other than the four needs for the living human life, others could be accomplished by oneself on this Microcampus trip. I came to Xizhou, to Microcampus, to actually accomplish something by myself. For example, there are no specific instructions of what we have to do for the final inquiry project. We could write an article, a persuasive essay, a video, anything as long as we have the requirements. This experience was unlike school where we have all the instructions given on a template and we just fill in the blank. It is the work, the template that we have to complete ourselves. On this trip, we created 'templates' by ourselves and filled in the blank. I have come to this Microcampus trip to experience creating my own template.