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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Self Motivation is Key: Idalease Cummings ’16 at Natik in Zinacantán, Mexico

Where do I begin? Getting started was probably the most difficult part of the job so far.  Before arriving I already knew that part of the job was to work with the kids at Yo’Onik, but what exactly did that mean? Upon first arriving I was under the impression that the kids did not speak much Spanish so suddenly I was wondering how exactly Jack and Myrka communicated with the kids. Turns out all of them can speak better Spanish than I can. Makes sense, because when you enter el centro or a place of business in Chiapas people speak Spanish…Very often I wish I could have taken this job soon after I finished my Spanish courses at Antioch. I wasn’t very confident in it before and now a year after, my confidence has not improved. But back to the kids. They are so respectful and so eager to learn, it warms my heart. It really makes me want to get involved with what they are doing but, as for now, there is not much they need me to do. So I try to talk to them as much as I can. One girl has asked me about my hair and that felt like a huge success to me. Perhaps, it is not often that they see someone with hair like mine so I am glad to be here and expose them to another part of the world. There is also aesthetic work to be done on the school grounds. The playground needs to have grass planted. This is where the skills I learned during my summer on the Antioch Farm could come in handy. And there is a growing stack of papers that need to be organized into folders and eventually filed away. This is where the skills I learned during my winter quarter at the Glen Helen Ecological Institute could come in handy. From farming to office work… I should never be jobless (if life were perfect) or have to continue to work for free after graduating from college (but I understand that organizations that need the most help, most often, don’t pay).

Looking back, I was hoping all my co-op jobs would all be performance related jobs and I still wish that these four experiences had a common thread so that my resume would show some kind of focus, but what they all have taught me is that it’s not what you do it’s who you know. And I didn’t know anyone who could connect me to the jobs that better fit my major and my biggest dream which is to perform. Sure, I have a background in working backstage but my resume was starting to look like that was all the experience I was ever going to get. Then when there are acting opportunities on campus, my co-op job took me away from them. For four years Antioch has had an actress dying to do what she was born to do but she and Antioch don’t fit so perfectly together. She does all she can to improve it but it leaves her feeling like there was nothing it could have ever done for her. Perhaps she wasn’t very clear about what she needed or maybe she didn’t want to feel like a burden, therefore was eager to accommodate, who knows? But for the first time in her life she wishes she could go back again and be more expressive and keep true to her dreams and aspirations which she now realizes would still be beneficial to the school and not be burdensome at all!

But back to business. My boss isn’t around to supervise like in most cases. Personally, I really appreciate this because I have been needing to get back into being able to find motivation within myself. The great thing about the project that I am working on is that I love to edit film footage, so there is already a base amount of motivation there. It has been a while since I have worked with film (other than basic media). In high school, they usually asked me to be the director of photography or film editor because of my natural attention to detail. I haven’t quite figured out my signature style when it comes to these two titles but somewhere in between farming and administrative work these skills shine the brightest. Film work has always been my back up plan. I figured that if I refine those skills and never get casted for my dream role then I could write and create that role for myself. I meant to do that while I was Antioch but things seem to always get in the way (probably because I let them). This being my last co-op experience really makes me mourn what could have been if I knew then what I know now. So listen up kids: fear of being a burden and fear of being successful (a very real fear and my hugest vice) will hold you back more than any external obstacle someone can throw at you. If you believe in yourself fully then believe that you are worth whatever sacrifice or risk needed to make the best of your opportunities (this is very different from making the best of whatever is given to you) never settle for less than what you want. Not settling doesn’t make you rude but it can make your dreams closer to becoming reality. Now that being said, finding motivation within myself is really important and is easier to access when you believe in the work that you are doing. The completion of the promotional video is important to me because I believe in the work that they women are doing here. They are using their skills and traditions to strengthen their community financially which has many other benefits. People don’t realize that immigration is a result of a bigger problem. Immigration is not the problem itself. Economies in people’s home countries begin to fail them and these people want the best for their families so in order to provide the best they end up breaking up the family in search for better opportunities. However, with the success of the flower and weaving industry, the native women of Zinacantán can keep their families together, preserve and share their culture, and ultimately afford their children the opportunity to attend university. Sure this video may not be the best video ever made (the camera was not the quality I was hoping for so I switched to my cellphone which looks better but is shaky because I don’t have a tripod adapter for it) but for me to be a part of making the world more aware of las tejeras in Zinacantán truly motivates me to do my job to the best of my abilities.

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