By Adriane Chavarria, high school intern, International Labor Rights Forum
For the first time I was asked to attend a conference at Swarthmore College for high school students to do a workshop. The conference was put on by United Students Against Sweatshops as part of their broader work to work with high school students. This workshop was about the Fairness in Flowers campaign of the International Labor Rights Forum.
My day started off with a great discussion with hotel workers. Afterwards I participated in an Action to support the hotel workers. We had to go to a hotel and march for the rights of the hotel workers. While I was doing this, I was really nervous having to yell and chant. Once having gone around the block I started to adjust to my surroundings and realized that everybody here was on the same side supporting the same issue. This put me at ease and I started to chant with no hesitation. I really felt accomplished after looking pass my shyness. All the students went back on the vans and headed home after attending the action. We went into a room to talk about what we had just did and how we felt about it and if we would like to do it again or not. We pretty much debriefed about what went on in the action.
It was now time for me to begin my workshop. As the students walking into the assigned classroom where my workshop would take place, I thought to myself “Oh my god. These students can’t possibly be in high school.” I felt so intimidated and now I wasn’t really sure if I could successfully perform this workshop. As the students sat down I told myself, “ok Adriane you can do this. You are prepared for this, your good.” Once I started, everything I had just told myself went right out the window. I started to get really nervous and I couldn’t remember to say certain things or what to do. I felt really disorganized and disorientated. I just keep thing to myself to not mess up but I think that was the cause of my mess up. I taught the beginning portion or the workshop but then I froze and didn’t know what to do. I asked Trina to take over because I was stuck. She assisted with no hesitation. After the workshop was over, I felt good that I tried but I also felt as though I let myself down for just giving up. I’m really happy that I got to do this but I wish I could have done a better job.
Once it was time to go back home, Trina told me that for my first time I did a good job. It made me feel better but I know I didn’t reach my full potential. I accepted that it was my first time and that I did try. I was then ok with the fact that I did try even though I didn’t succeed. Practice makes perfect and it was my first time so I was over it fairly quick. I hope I’ll get a chance to do a workshop or something similar to a workshop in the near future. It’s a great feeling knowing that you can help teach valuable issues of society to people who really do care. I want to thank Trina for giving me the opportunity to do this because with her I would have never known. Thank you Trina and ILRF.