Friday, June 3, 2016

My TeenPact Experience, Part 3

I learn a lot when TeenPact rolls around.  The alumni track was really good this year.  The American Criminal Justice System is much more interesting than you'd think.  I had to write a 1,500-word essay about it, after all!  In the time it took me to research and write up my essay, entitled "How To Reform The American Criminal Justice System," I consumed loads of facts, stories and statistics.  I don't know when I'll ever again have to talk to someone about the 2.2 million people currently in prison, but if I do, I'll have lots of facts to back me up!

Our PD this year was, in a word, amazing.  He could play Devil's Advocate like nobody's business.  He asked questions that made us think about our opinions and why we believed in them.  "Not that your ideas are wrong, but you want to be able to back them up if someone asks you the why behind them." He said.  I still wonder if he put forth some of his own opinions when he played Devil's Advocate though. ;)

One of the things that has impacted me the most about TeenPact this year was how real I was.  I was more open with the people in my Rendezvous group.  And I'm not open with people.  But this year, when the staffers in my group asked about anything we needed to get off our chests, I didn't feel like staying quiet.  I didn't want to hide behind a mask anymore.  I didn't want to worry about whether or not one of them would judge me.  I didn't want to bother with hiding.  So, I opened up a little and found that one of the girls I know empathized with me...she knew exactly what I was going through.

When I got out of General elections, even though I didn't win, I had no regrets.  I didn't regret coming up with a dumb agrarian slogan, didn't regret trying to make people like me, didn't regret making a fool of myself, didn't regret putting on a lot of masks for everyone, didn't regret losing in the primaries.  Because I didn't have to.  Things were different this year.  I was different this year.  I had a great slogan courtesy of my Mom (thanks, Mom!), met lots of new people by just being myself, found that I had a lot more in common with some people than I'd originally thought, and got into the General elections.  And I didn't regret anything I'd done at TeenPact this year.

I made it my mission during TeenPact week to be myself.  Truth is, sometimes I don't know who that is.  But I believe TeenPact, its staffers, its program directors and its students have helped me learn day by day, week by week a little bit more about who I am.

And who knows?  Maybe next year, I'll be a senator.

Have you been to TeenPact?  Tell me in the comments section about how TP has shaped who you are!

I hope you enjoy this series of posts about my experiences at TeenPact!  Thanks for reading!

Other Parts Of This Series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4