“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
This past week was the first week of Eureka! A plethora of emotions came with this new beginning – excitement, anxiousness, and most of all, fear; fear of the unknown. Meeting so many people in one day brought me back to my first days at Duke. Not only did I have to learn everyone’s names as soon as I heard it, but I also had to learn everything about them – personality, background, and personal views.
Despite starting on a good note with most of the Eureka! girls, there were a couple that I had to admonish several times for several different reasons. One of the ugliest reasons was that two young girls were laughing at another girl who is on the spectrum for Autism. Seeing this occur broke my heart as I did not perceive the two girls as bullies or mean people, and no one deserves to be laughed at or made fun of for something they cannot control.
To end the bullying, I immediately gave the two young girls a stern look that said “We both know what you’re doing is wrong, so why are you doing it?” Almost instantly, the laughing ceased. Although happy because I was able to stop them from laughing, I felt equally guilty because the young girls plus others were under my watch. As a result, it was my responsibility to keep everyone in line and in control, and I failed.
During this past week, I have realized that these girls, who look to me as an adult, are not much younger than I am. The high school students are no more than 6 years younger. It may be a big difference for them, but for me, I do not see it as such. Because of this, I find it difficult to admonish a girl or even give them instructions. With these feelings constantly in the back of my mind, having this bullying occur under my watch was just the icing on the cake. More and more self-doubting questions filled my mind as I reflected on what happened. I couldn’t do anything but blame myself.
All in all, my first week working at Eureka! was amazing, despite the bullying and a few other questionable incidents. I feel myself evolving because I am gaining more confidence as the adult that these students to look up to. This self-evolution and gain of confidence will only continue to occur and increase as the camp progresses.