Being in leadership positions today has allowed us to learn more about ourselves. We were forced out of our comfort zones and were pushed into the spotlight.

I (Aminata) am used to being more silent and more of an observer so being Leader of the Day, I faced the challenge of having to be more vocal, voice my thoughts, and lead while keeping the three C’s in mind which are courage, commitment, and compassion. I found that my anxiety was building up through the beginning of the day, and felt overwhelmed with the demands of being the leader. I was worried I would be a horrible leader throughout the day and was wishing I wasn’t given the position. However, on a positive note Divine and I made it through the day, got to communicate with our peers, and did a decent job at being leaders. Our main feedback from the group was that we were caring and attentive to their needs (so I guess it was not so bad after all).

I (Divine) didn’t want to be leader of the day because, in the past, school public speaking was never for me but since I came to Panama, I have become more vocal. Since this was the 2nd free day where students were allowed to go out in small groups without adults, I found it more stressful because they wanted to explore Chitre. But the day got better when my group and I went shopping and got to know each other more. Something else I did to stay calm was color with the markers I got for my birthday.

We traveled into Chitre’s streets and we explored the different stores and how they had different hidden treasures, we walked around the Chitre with members of our group and got more of a feel of a Panamanian spirit.

The most significant part of the day for me personally (Aminata) was the conversation we had as a group in the nightly meeting. We discussed the concept of first impressions and how it’s a human instinct to pre-judge someone before getting to know them. One student said something that really stood out to me because I personally relate to what they said. This person described how more quiet students who have opened up during this trip might feel pressure to develop an extroverted personality when we go back home, but he reminded us how we must remain true to ourselves and that being quiet is not a bad thing and can be very beneficial.