With 20 inspiring people all under one roof, it is sometimes difficult to know what everyone is up to. So we’ve begun capturing stories and experiences that all of the residents have been having and sharing them with you here. Enjoy – today’s reflection below is from AnneLiese Nachman. For a full list of the tenants currently living in the home, check out the mini bios here.
I just arrived back from Washington DC last night after four days of serving those in need. If it were not for my fellow co.space housemate Ali Goldberg, I might have missed out on this opportunity simply out of ignorance. I had no idea Penn State sent groups of students out into the world for service trips! 20 Penn State students, never having met before, coming together for one long weekend to do something that is bigger than us.
We arrived on Friday evening to the Hostel International, which is such a great place! It was my first time in an American hostel, and I was very impressed. The atmosphere was hip and happening, and the lobby was full of interesting people from all over the world. Goodbye expensive hotels, hello super-cool, affordable hostels! There was one man there for a meeting in the city the next day, and he proudly admitted to opting for a night in the hostel than a night in a hotel where he said he would have paid a month’s rent for one night’s stay.
Staying in the hostel with my service group reminded me of the co.space- a groovy environment with lots of rooms available for group activities and bonding. The kitchen, of course, was the most popular place to be.
The group I served with was amazing; full of brilliant Penn State students who wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Again, very similar to the co.space, except we only had four days of living together instead of the whole year, which forced us to move the bonding along at a fast pace, and by the end we were stuck together like glue. Positive-minded people who volunteer their time and effort to others- what a great crew to be around. I was so happy to see this dynamic of strangers who become family exist and come about organically outside of the co. space. It is inspiring. I believe the world will see great things come from people like us, and they will be inspired, and our group will grow.
One thing I will bring back from this experience is the power of sharing. Even before I left for DC, I wrote this quote on the co.space white boards on each floor, “Action without reflection leads to burnout. Reflection without action leads to cynicism,” Albert Einstein. In DC, our group had a reflection on each day’s activities in various, creative ways, and every person added something great to the discussion. It allowed others in the group to not only hear them, but be changed by them. I want to see more of this in the co.space. Group reflection puts meaning into the things that we do. It awakens us when we hear ourselves speak aloud of the actions we just performed, and it forms a bond between members through inspiration from the different perspectives and stories which are shared.
We did a great activity on one of the last days in DC. Each finger on your hand has a prompt, starting with your thumb, tell us one thing that was good from the day. Your index finger- tell us one thing that surprised you from the day. Your finger in the middle- one thing that frustrated you from the day. Your ring finger- one thing that you are committed to after today, and your pinky finger is one thing you will take away from today. Try it with your group! It can be a reflection on one day in particular, or a whole weekend as we did ours. The perspectives and heart-told stories that came from this reflection changed my life.
“Action without reflection leads to burnout. Reflection without action leads to cynicism.” -Albert Einstein