Natalie Jansen

How am I growing in my own awareness of my strengths and weaknesses?

Thespians

Part of my responsibilities for being Vice President was initiating new Thespians into the International Thespian Society. This opportunity showed me a weakness I had never had a big chance to acknowledge in the past. I had to run not only an entire show with dance, song, speech, pantomime, and a scene, but also an entire week long initiation week. I have always liked to take control, and have been good at obtaining command of a group. However, I have never been the one who is the ultimate person in charge. This position, I learned, comes with a mountain of stress. I needed to plan all the activities and lead them throughout the week. I assigned different people to be in charge of different parts but it was very difficult to pull them all together. Many of the directors waited until the last minute and this was not entirely their fault. I had assigned their part far ahead of time but had not been firm in everything I wanted to get done. I was too worried about pleasing everyone to focus on the good of the production as a whole. I learned a major weakness of mine is that I try to take on too much and I care too much about what others think about the outcomes out of my work. However, I also learned that I am able to work well under pressure and come out with something I can be proud of.

What challenges have I been through?

Publicity Crew Head

For the fall production, Twentieth Century, , I volunteered to be the publicity crew head. This taught me a lot about learning to work collaboratively. I have a tendency to internalize my concerns and take on all the work by myself. After all, if you want something done right, you should do it yourself, right? I attempted to take on posters, postcards, and t-shirts, but found myself overloaded and stressed due to the amount of work involved. Because I tried to do things myself, orders came in wrong and printing wasn’t done in a timely manner. This only increased the stress and anxiety I was feeling. I soon realized I needed to band together with my crew to make things run smoother. What I learned was that in the future, I will work collaboratively from the start with others that have been assigned the same task in order to be the most successful with the least amount of stress.

In what ways have I started new challenges?

In what ways have I developed new skills?

Drama

In working with drama there are many opportunities that I may have never had without it. Not just opportunities in acting, but also in technical aspects of production. Outside of my assigned technical aspects I have also volunteered many times to help with set crew. This is something far outside of my comfort zone and I needed to pay close attention to those with more experience. I learned all about using screw guns and making myself useful in an area that I would initially believe I could be of no help. This helped me to be more confident in coming to help with the middle school’s set and continuing to help with our own set crew. Learning to do the smaller tasks well helps the job to get done as fast as possible.

In what ways have I shown perseverance and commitment to my activities?

School Board

I am the student representative for the school board. This has been a fun experience as I have learned of the different things that our school board is doing and also have been able to express my own opinions on what I felt was important to the school. One major thing that has been a major target of mine is the building of a new theater. I have tried to sneak in comments about the need in many meetings and have been addressed, but not to the extent that I would wish. The list of budget priorities came out recently and I found that the theater was number four. I felt that it should have a higher priority and I had the backing of the superintendent as well. Because of this, I organized a group of four other students to come to the meeting with me and speak out about the need. All these students were in the spring musical with me as well so we came to the meeting in full costume in makeup. The four each represented drama, choir, band, and dance and beautifully expressed the need for a theater. The response was all positive and it was great to show a huge need for a larger place to house our different forms of production. Although I may not receive an immediate response to the theater, I am committed to showing the need as well as improving the district as a whole in any way possible.

In what ways have I worked collaboratively?

In what ways have I been engaged in issues with global importance?

Missions Trip to Belize

On my missions trip to Belize this past summer I developed a larger appreciation for other cultures. Being immersed in the culture, I wanted to take full advantage of it. I spent one night sitting outside and talking to the dad of one of the families I had befriended. They all had the greatest attitudes and were some of the nicest and most welcoming people I had met. He told me of all the struggles they had there. He had only one lung as a result of a random stabbing, his daughter had appendicitis that had gotten infected and were going to pull their 17 year old son out of school in order to help pay for the medicine this 10 year old girl desperately needed. This family had the best attitude and had overcome so many adversities. They helped to change my view on how to respond to hard times and appreciate the good things in life. I spent many hours attempting to talk to him in my limited knowledge of Spanish. He never got frustrated with me needing him to repeat himself two or three times and was very open to me and a few others on my team. He and his family changed my life and I hope someday I will be able to revisit them.

What are the ethical or moral implications of what I’m doing and learning?

Action 9/15/2013

This summer I went on a mission trip to Belize and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. God taught me so much about appreciating and giving of what I have, and moving on from problems. The kids there were never stopped by their situation or an injury. I was so humbled when the kids, who had homes with no more than cement floors and tin roofs came up and gave me gifts all week. I was amazed at the families and how much trust they put in us and how much hospitality they showed us in inviting us into their houses before they even knew our names. It was so encouraging to see them worshiping the same God and being able to talk about my faith despite the language barrier. The trip was very hard both emotionally and physically. We worked long hours attempting to share about the Lord through Vacation Bible School and home visits, and keep up with the kids in many hours of soccer. Our team grew a lot through our sweat and struggles with adjusting to the new environment and poverty around us. The village we stayed in stripped us of all our usual comforts, with cockroaches in our rooms, no air conditioning, and a lack of clean water, we were forced to rely on God and each other for strength.

Service 5/31/2013

Since freshman year, I have attended Best Buddies Club every Friday at lunch. I go into the ASRD room and have lunch and play games with kids with Autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that impacts their social skills. Best Buddies is an opportunity for general ed students to socialize with kids with autism and build relationships. This has been an amazing learning experience for me. It has helped me to be more outgoing and patient with those around me. I have grown through it and it has impacted what I plan to do with my future career.

Service 5/31/2013

This semester I was again a part of the SALT team at my church. This is a leadership team of high school students who help with games, ice breakers, set up, and activities in my youth group. This has helped me to develop my leadership skills and be more confident in large group settings. I have been able to get more involved with my church and the people in my youth group. It has encouraged me to grow in my faith and step outside my comfort zone. The people I have met on this team have helped me to mature as a person.

Service 1/22/2012

Along with a team from my church youth group I traveled to San Francisco on a missions trip this summer.  We teamed up with another church and helped at the Boys and Girls Club in the Tenderloin, Project Open Hand, and the San Francisco Food Bank.  I learned a ton from the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.  There were drug deals going on right outside and yet they were able to just be kids.  They did not let their situations get in the way of childhood—they respected authorities and were open to learning.  Project Open Hand is a meal service for people with home bound illnesses; focusing on aids.  Many of the staff and volunteers had this sort of lowered immune systems and it was a great experience to be able to sit and talk with them about their experiences.  At the San Francisco Food Bank we measured, weighed, bagged, and boxed rice.  The weights needed to be very precise, causing a more difficult process; but I learned from it to take my time and remember where my labor goes to.

Creative 1/6/2013

For the Charter Oak book fair I volunteered to write a script for the drama department’s time slot at Barnes and Noble.  I modified the children’s story Peanut Butter Rhino into a skit and cast my show.  It was a very frustrating experience being that it was difficult to put aside time for rehearsals.  However, in the end it ran smoothly and turned out to be a lot of fun.

Creative 1/6/2013

The Door of Hope is a house for homeless families that helps them to get back on their feet financially.  For the fifth year in a row I have gone with my youth group to help decorate the house for Christmas.  I also went back a few weeks later with my Girl Scout troop to wrap gifts for all the kids who are current residents or have been involved in the program.  I love being able to serve with friends from different areas of my in places that are special to me.

Action 1/6/2013

Every year for the past 6 years I have gone with my church to clean out Bailey Canyon, which is a wilderness park in Sierra Madre.  We clear paths for hikers, pull weeds, and cut down dangerous plants.  This is a fun but exhausting day and this year it was in the rain.  The rain made the day even more exciting as we moved lumber down the mountain and spread wood chips along a path.  It is cool to see my friends get involved with the rest of the community and enjoying the hard physical labor.

Service 1/6/2013

This summer I went to Camp Barnabas, a camp for kids with disabilities in Medina, Texas.  It was my third summer and it was unforgettable, as usual.  Each counselor is paired up with a camper to spend the week with.  My camper’s name was Carmen and she was 15 years old.  She was bipolar, had ADHD, and had Tourette’s syndrome. It was a very difficult week in dealing with her many breakdowns and mood swings.  However, it was also a very interesting and exciting week.  Carmen believed that she was a professional gymnast—who had just won gold in the Olympics—a professional dancer, an alien, a werewolf—who hated vampires—and believed she had night and x-ray vision. It was hard, both physically and emotionally, and I had to rely completely on God to get me through.  I learned a ton about myself and have gained more patience and a greater ability to think on my feet.

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