There are so many ways to maintain the lessons of DukeEngage throughout the year at Duke. I am currently involved in Duke GANO, an English as a Second Language Program for Spanish speaking members of the Triangle community. In this program, there are so many parallels to the work that we are doing through DukeEngage Chile. Both hone communication in Spanish using more technical vocabulary, develop leadership skills through working among peers, and create a real relationship with community members. I am excited to bring back my skills that I have enhanced throughout this summer to the program.
The most difficult part of maintaining the lessons of DukeEngage will be taking the time to reflect on the lessons I am learning. It is easy to take the time to work with others and help the community. It is hard to carve out the individual time to reflect on what I am doing. However, through the reflection sessions this summer, I have learned the importance of seeing the meaning in each task and recognizing where I can improve. Time always seems to be the biggest obstacle in reflection. There never seems to be adequate time to think in the midst of the business of academics and work. Now seeing how much more effectively I communicate with my team, my increased focus on what is important in a project, and the ability to come up with new projects based on current tasks, I see how necessary this time is in order to save time in the long run.
A concrete way to overcome a lack of individual reflection includes blocking out time at the end of each week in my calendar for reflection. I have found effective reflection comes with writing ideas down and verbalizing them, as it holds me more accountable to what I am thinking. However, I think it is important to share the value of reflection with individuals in programs that I am involved in at school. At executive or debrief meetings, group reflection is done. However, it is easy to go to these meetings without having done individual reflection first. Therefore, I think an interesting idea would be to have members of the program attend weekly meetings with a written individual reflection on what they are doing and what they think they can improve upon. I have directly seen the benefits of reflection this summer and feel that it is a skill that I can help to teach to others, while I am still growing myself.