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Mariah, Make it!

Last year during Make it! Mariah put her preconceptions to one side and found her voice

Mariah was a friendly and imaginative student, with a strong academic record. She was an avid reader and could get through a tome of books each week. Mariah was completely at ease in the library and would spend all her free time there. She was particularly chatty 1-2-1, and could quickly strike up conversations especially with adults. In class she consciously kept herself away from the rest of the class, and was reluctant to share her, no doubt, interesting ideas and curious questions. Mariah was also nervous about spending time in the playground, saying that she didn’t like to be around the ‘loud kids’.

Mariah made a very noticeable effort to establish a particular identity for herself as an ‘outsider’, a girl who other kids didn’t like and thought of as “weird” through the interests she had. She also made it very clear that she had nothing in common with the rest of the class. Over time, through significant engagement on topics such as empathy and critical thinking through her 1-2-1 and group work sessions, she was able to gradually understand how nuanced human nature was. She explored with her mentor how she clung to particular assumptions of her fellow class mates, which prevented her from building new friendships and opening up to new experiences. Over time, Mariah was able to talk about some of the ‘loud’ kids in a more different light, less scathing and more understanding. “I used to think that the kids who messed around in class had nothing in common with me, but being in the Make it! group- a group I never imagined being a part of, helped me to see people differently”. She began to acknowledge, through regular interaction with students not normally her friends, their shared values and experiences.

Nearing the end of the project, Mariah developed a more positive and more balanced outlook towards her classmates. On the Make Moves! part of the project, she found that she actually could have a lot of fun when she lowered her guard and put aside some of her stereotypes. In fact she was often seen instigating the water fights that week, and received best mentor of the day for her leadership skills. During the Q&A part of the day, Mariah, surprisingly, also spoke very fondly of her secondary school. 

At the end of the project, Mariah still kept her regular friends, but is noticeably less overwhelmed around louder students. On our final graduation, Mariah chose to sit with some of the friends she made on the residential, and clearly had made some effort to stand out, albeit with a questionable shade of lipstick! 

I used to think that the kids who messed around in class had nothing in common with me, but being in the Make it! group- a group I never imagined being a part of, helped me to see people differently”
Mariah, Make it! student

*The names of all individuals have been changed to protect their identities.