11th Grade Trip to PR

Puerto Rico Global Citizenship Trip Week 1 – Abigail Ray ’23

Viejo San Juan

The Importance of Change in Scenery 

This trip helped build a foundation of individual security within myself that I had been longing for.

Abigail Ray ’23

Miss Porter’s School has given every student opportunities unlike any other, such as the junior class immersion trip to Puerto Rico. As a student who participated in this trip, I automatically understood the importance of gaining independence, participating in service-learning, and engaging with cultures unlike my own. It was truly daunting at first as I, along with my peers, landed in an environment so far from our own. Before entering Puerto Rico, I knew little to nothing about the Puerto Rican way of life, the culture, and some of the struggles they face due to hurricanes. However, I can confidently state that this trip opened my eyes and allowed me to recognize my privilege and my ability to connect with others.

Recognizing privilege and ignorance go hand in hand, you must know how to do one to not participate in the other. The time I spent in Puerto Rico was filled with laughter, defeat at times, education, and perspective building. We, as a group, participated in many acts of volunteering in which we painted, cleaned, demoed, and helped to build back a safe house that was damaged after the last hurricane. See, here in Farmington, I often conform to believing that the life I live is normal and I fall shy from recognizing how grateful I truly am to attend a school that supports the idea of global citizenship. Walking away from this trip with the memories and information gained has already begun to shape my understanding of this world that is constantly evolving. There were many takeaways, however the most impactful was the ability to connect with each other; letting go of the past, putting my best foot forward; accepting who I am, and embracing every part of myself. As a student at Porter’s, I have gained my social bubble, interacting on a deeper level with a maximum of five close friends. I want to assure you there is nothing wrong with this narrative of my life, yet I found myself contemplating why I have secluded myself to a set array of friends. This trip allowed me to expand that social bubble to connect, learn and grow alongside peers I had only had brief surface-level conversations with.

Oftentimes we as humans hyper analyze our lives and the meaning behind everything we do, but why? This lifestyle breeds unhappiness, and during this trip I found peace within embracing the positives, for that is what will illuminate our strengths as individuals. Learning to let go of what is blocking my perspectives on life was just one of the many values I learned to strengthen. Not having my phone, more so social media for the duration of the trip allowed me as a teenage girl desperately trying to fit into society, time to find whom I want the world to know me as, rather than comparing myself to someone who is struggling just as much as I am. This lesson allowed me to find comfort in myself and accept the often-misunderstood sectors of my identity and being. Before this trip, I was constantly regretting the person I was and how I interacted with my small social bubble, however now I am starting to love the person I am more and more. It might be hard to believe that a school immersion trip could open the doors to self-acceptance and love and yet I am a walking example of that.

This trip helped build a foundation of individual security within myself that I had been longing for. It allowed me to accept the person I am and recognize the parts of me that I must change in order to succeed in loving myself. Reflection was ever-present throughout this journey, analyzing and taking a step back from normalcy to reflect on my actions and how I should tweak my understanding to better myself for the following day. Reflection is so overlooked in our day and age, yet it is so crucial to accept who we are and learn from ourselves. We as humans should never solely rely on others for growth more so depend on ourselves while getting insight from others around us. How do we want to leave our mark on this world desperately calling for change and how may we accomplish such a task? Believing in ourselves and growing through every experience we endure, being present in everything we do and giving ourselves credit when credit is needed, and lastly cutting ourselves some slack. None of us are perfect but the ones that try every day to better themselves truly are destined for greatness.  – Abigail Ray ‘23

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