For my first workshop, which I was very much looking forward to, I talked about sports. Specifically, I talked about how I got admitted to Harvard and what obstacles I had to overcome. I tried to write it the way the students understand it. Students learned a lot about me which I think made me more approachable.
I got to know the students over the first session very well. That was my number one goal, and I am glad we collectively achieved it. Furthermore, I focused on the specific vocabulary that I was using in the text and explained the meaning of any of the words that were confusing. This way appeared to be a great way to learn new words. Those were my main learning objectives.
Activities: I asked students to draw (doodle) while I was reading the text. The drawings varied since different students perceived the text differently. After I was done reading the texts, I, firstly, asked the students if there are any questions about the vocabulary. As a next step, I gave the students enough time to finish the drawing, and then, kindly asked one of the students to share their drawing. After they finished sharing, they nominated their classmate to share theirs. We went around the room so that everyone had a chance to share their drawing. Lastly, I asked everyone what we had just done. This served as a reflection and a nice way to end the first session.
I believe that using stories, especially real personal stories are most powerful to inspire children.
This was the flow of the first workshop:
A Year of a Lifetime: Becoming Me
Just before the summer of 2017, my soccer career was absolutely fantastic. I had a great few years in the Slovak National Team and I had a chance of becoming a great and successful soccer player. Everything seemed to be going well. Even though my results at high school were very good and I studied well, I thought soccer is the only way I ever want to go.
I was playing for a team in the Czech Republic. I was without my family and my friends. I had to deal with daily issues on my own.
However, during one of the games early in the season, an opposing player fouled me aggressively and I sprained my right ankle. An x-ray showed that my ankle is broken, and I had to go into surgery. I was extremely frightened of what this can do to me. Being in the Czech Republic, without my family and without my long-time friends, I felt lonely and sad.
The injury happened at the worst possible time because we had a lot of important matches with the Slovak National Team.
I have always worked hard, whether this was at high school or on the soccer field. I have never given up, even if all odds were against me. The year 2017 proves to be a living example of how much I fought for what I wanted to do. I was successful in high school and at the same time did extra after my soccer trainings. I never gave up and these obstacles motivated me to give more and more to what I enjoy.
The year 2017 was a huge test for me. I had to overcome many obstacles and had to deal with certain issues by myself. I learned a lot. I understood that even if you were the best soccer player in the world, anything could happen, and you need to know that there is life beneath the soccer fields as well.
The year 2017 opened my eyes to the fact that soccer is not the only thing, and I cannot leave my academic potential without use. I started researching scholarships at the US universities and I decided to take a bold step and show the best university in the world, Harvard, that I am a very good student and a very good and successful soccer player. Now, I am a junior at Harvard and I play as a striker for Harvard Men’s Soccer.
The year 2017 was difficult but I can only be thankful for it. The life lessons it gave me and the path it showed me are extremely valuable. Becoming me over the year 2017 was truly an extraordinary experience of a lifetime.