After 15 years under an old-fashioned educational system, I’ve been blessed to have had the chance to pursue learning differently: empowering choice, leading my own learning, having autonomy to shape ideas, and redefine traditional teaching methods -- classic no more. That's what I know as the IA, a place that has been much like a home, full of lame jokes, memorable anecdotes, comfort, trust, and an urge to learn, to be different; my second family, people that think alike, that understand my vision in life.
But it didn't go that way in the beginning. When I walked into class two years ago I had this innate thought of regretting my choice because my only "close" friends were DD and Gonchi;I started thinking that being with them for one complete month would probably drive me crazy. Yet despite the fact that I was doubting my decision of joining the IA --thank god I didn't leave-- there was a little angel on my shoulder that convinced me to try it out: It couldn't go THAT wrong.
I WAS MISTAKEN.
It was because of me.
- I attended class with a vision that everything would be similar to IB courses--not in terms of content, but in how the environment and the culture worked. This idea prevented me from fully emerging into the Innovation Academy core visions and values, which involved viewing the world around me through a different lense, not just assisting class as an obligation. This way of looking at the IA truly nourished two different Babi’s -- the one inside the classroom: a reserved, not approachable, working just to complete tasks student, and the one outside the classroom, definitely more open to suggestions, social, and active participant. Yet, as a witness to how my peers in the cohort were progressing as life learners, it was internally killing me to feel excluded from the group due to the way I approached the program. At times, I felt like an outsider. And adding up to it, honestly, getting slapped by Pedrito's feedback was the cherry on top (I appreciate it until today), when he mentioned that I was not related enough to the group, I was too closed, and from my point of view, too selfish. That made me think and change who I was. I no longer saw the IA as "something else" yet it was more of a place to evolve as a person, a place where I could pursue whatever the hell came to my mind and nobody would judge me, instead support me.
- Creating beautiful work has always been "the thing" in the IA. We've been pushed to reach the best of our abilities through several iterations and after receiving feedback. However, because grades were ignored to a certain point, getting feedback was the most important aspect of the process as you were able to reflect and improve what you once thought was beautiful. Although this sounds fascinating now, back then, because of feedback, I felt that there was an abnormal amount of pressure to create a mind-blowing masterpiece when something was assigned, feeling that we had to be perfect. Even so, at times (I know that I took it personally) I felt that all the pressure was put on me -- PATHETIC, how wrong I was. This made me realize something about my attitude. I was extremely self-centered about what I did, not caring or focusing on other people's work. In fact I thought of feedback as a threat instead of a motivation, and I was certainly not the only one getting pressure to create better work; it was cumulative for every single member of the team. Now, I am thankful towards every single one of my peers for the feedback, and most importantly Mr. Topf for making me realize that I was living and exploring inside a four edge box; I was not taking risks nor thinking outside of my comfort zone; not that I couldn't do it, I was just not devoting enough time to thinking bigger, thinking different.
- Finally, ever since I stepped into the IA, I was desperately searching for a type of education that was completely opposite to the one I was receiving. I was looking for traditional plus a little twist--on one side excited for hands-on learning experiences, yet also expecting to acquire loads of content. Being close-minded with this thought made it even harder for me to adapt and understand the golden spark of the IA. I was afraid of changing my school experience for the last two years, and since I had been quite brainwashed by regular education it was complicated for me to understand that what I had been taught for 13 years was not the only nor the best way to learn. After actually experiencing that sitting down for 90 minutes in a
chair listening to a lecture was not effective enough to learn deeply, I began to find real value in the education at the IA ... innovation brainwashed me. It was much more than just reading a book, memorizing the first 40 pages, and writing it down on the paper to show how intelligent you were. I found out that the IA gave you the type of education to live the right life, an education to enable you to analyze every aspect of yourself and make you a better and faster thinker, and education that very few were lucky enough to receive.