Through this project, I have been inspired to be active in my beliefs, rather than passive. I now see that it is very important to not only express your passion through words, but also by being proactive. For my research, I found extensive information about the impact mental illnesses has on society(i.e suicides, bullying), I wish I would have found more information about more ways the mental illness is broken and unrepaired.This would have definitely enhanced my first blog post because it would show my readers that the problems I described in my blog post actually exist. For my original research, I stumbled upon some disappointments such as getting no response from a lot of organizations and people whom I reached out to. This was discouraging ; however, it was not enough to stop my determination. Initially, I wanted to interview Eleanor Longdin because I had watched her Ted Talk, "The Voices In My Head", where she explained her struggles with mental illness and the reactions of others around her. I figured she would have a lot to say on my topic( America's broken mental health care system). I google searched her, hoping she would have a website, by which she could be contacted, but I was not that lucky. I soon realized, after research, that I would only be able to reach her through social media, which appeared to be a long shot, due to the many farce 'personal' accounts titled 'Eleanor Longdin' on twitter. I decided to abandon my pursuit of Longdin and instead use sources more local. I called about five psychology professors at Penn, but got no response, which is expected looking back in hindsight. After those attempts failed, I used one of the closest sources available: The teachers and students at SLA. I first created a survey that gauged the knowledge of my freshmen peers about the broken system. I decided to do this because I wanted to reach out to the youth because we are future leaders. Moreover, I interviewed Jevon Price and Ms.Menasion, my advisor, about their opinions on the dull mental health care discussion and how the discussions are resuscitated by tragedy(Newtown). I decided to interview Ms.Menasion, not only because she is very supportive, but also because she is a special education teacher. Her responses were insightful and very helpful. Ultimately, I felt equipped with my 50 survey responses and two interviews, although that is not originally what I wished my original research to compile of. If I could change anything, I would have used sources closest to me(family, friends, teachers, etc.). My Agent of Change was trifold, including two collaborations. I was not originally planning to collaborate, however, when I was aked by Opoku to help out with hi bake sale raising money for Autism Awareness, I knew I had accept because it was my very own autistic brother who inspired my topic for this project. Together, we donated $245 to an Autism Awareness Research office in New Jersey. I felt like we made an impact because we contributed to research, which will find new treatments and therapies. Also, we created awareness within our school by distributing autism informative brochures to those who bought our baked goods. Next, I decided to give a presentation at TFI to educate my peers and bring awareness to the gaps in our nation's mental health care system. I found this to be very successful, despite video uploading errors, because my audience looked genuinely interested in what I had to say and I received a lot of compliments afterwards. At last, I combined forced with Jae Regino and Jhazzelle Majarucon and created a social anxiety awareness website. I am really happy with the way it turned out. It is both aesthetically pleasing and educational. Jhazzelle, through her own research, even discovered the already existing tongue twister challenge, which brought awareness to the complexities of the lives of the socially anxious. I really enjoyed my three-part Agent of Change awareness-bringing activities and do would not change them if I had another chance.
Overall, in my opinion, this benchmark project was hard work, but time most certainly well spent.