TL13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Lauren Kantrovitz, in Florence Italy. 

Growing up in the US, as I added a candle to the cake each year, I could not help but be thrilled that the extra candle meant I was one year closer to becoming a high school student, receiving my drivers license, having my first serious relationship, going to my first prom, becoming a college student, becoming an adult. Me? I am so lucky that I was fortunate to grow up in a family that could provide me the opportunity to experience all that I was working my way up to each year I added a candle. However what about the adolescents that are not fortunate enough to undergo those experiences because they may not have enough money to go to college or get a prom dress or maybe they are from the city and only take public transportation or possibly, they don’t come from a stable household where adulthood does not mean turning 18 or having your first drink but means being adult because you ‘have’ to. Does that mean that there are different meanings or levels towards how much of adult one is? Is “a moment with meaning” deciphered as one that is filled with smiles and congratulations or can it also be overcoming the loop holes that life may throw at one? That is the problem… Growing up as an adolescent in the US, there was that ambiguity towards how and when one becomes an adult because why is one more of an adult at 18 than when they had an hour left of 17? It is a sad notion that is not often brought up and although answering this question may be difficult it could answer some questions or uncertainties you didn’t realize you had towards why you don’t feel the way society may be telling one to. Often college or getting ones first job is the first transformative experience that people in the US can really undergo that may make them feel like they are more of an adult that previous as there is a separation, transition, and incorporation phase in both of those experiences. However bringing up the notion that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to go to college or get a job that pays their bills, how are they supposed to feel and become an “adult”? That is why a ritualistic experience that ‘everyone’ can undergo is important because otherwise the less fortunate people may feel that they are lesser this leading to a decrease in a drive to accomplish life goals.

Ultimately, failing to have community-based rituals present in American society leads to a problem developing the Global Community because if not everyone feels apart of their initial community, in what world would they feel that they belong to a community that incorporates every community that they are not apart of, including their own. Although the Global Community is not and should not be represented by only being apart of it if one feels that they belong to their own community, I find it difficult to fathom that one would feel that they could be accept by the global community if they have the idea that their immediate community can’t?

One of the twenty elements of rites of passage that was meaningful to my experience was program success relying on relationships. The quality of one’s relationships is incredibly important toward how one see’s and experiences life. The people that surround one another lead one another to become the people that they are which is why the saying that the people around you touch you, because they really do. The challenge with relationships is that it can be very difficult to connect with people that are feeling and experiencing different things than oneself. That is why it is important to have people who have a mutual understanding and respect for the life one is living. Ultimately, people have the potential to make or break one’s experience by changing how they think they should feel or act based on others actions as people often do as others do.

Time alone for reflection has been a very important element for myself as getting lost in The Florentine streets has been extremely therapeutic. It has been difficult to find alone time in Florence so doing things for myself and by myself such as working out and taking walks and discovering new parts of Florence has been very beneficial in the allowance of reflection on my experience. Although talking to people (again why having people by your side that can sympathize or at least respect how you feel) can be very helpful to put one’s thoughts together, at the end of the day, for myself at least, reflecting on my experiences myself makes the largest impact when I can put others’ and my own thoughts together.

Giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors, etc. is also an element that has played a large role in my experience abroad. It was difficult coming into this experience with only one true friend by my side as I came with one of my best friends on the trip. When I came to Florence it was extremely difficult as someone who really needs multiple people in my life that I can spend time with on a daily basis, and not having my friends from home to do that with each day. Additionally I was having trouble with my roommates who would not be my first choice. However I eventually realized that I had to let both of those ideas that I had been dwelling on and move past them for the time being and make the time that I have abroad the best that it can be because it is only temporary. Once I let go of that sadness and anger of being placed in a situation where my friends weren’t with me and I was placed with people that I did not get along with, I was able to transition and move along the liminal phase.

Out of these phases I want to really incorporate time alone and letting go of past attitudes as those have been two really big factors for me in transitioning successfully into my new life and appreciating it which I will try to depict in my digital story.

I connected most with the “Paris Spring 2014” digital story as I could sympathize the most with her. One remark that she said that really caught my eye was that “it warmed up in the spring, and so did I”. I really connected with this as I feel the exact same way. I am definitely happier in warmer, sunnier weather. I feel that now it is warmer, although I am sure that transitioning and incorporating myself further has made a large difference, I see the magic in Florence more as I want to be outside exploring the beautiful city. I see more people enjoying the city as tourists are swarming the streets and it makes me want to enjoy the city that much too. I don’t want to take this experience for granted and I feel that this experience has taught me to open my eyes to the world unlike I had previously which is what the girl studying in Paris said in her digital story, “blooming like the trees”. That inspires me to want to bloom with the flowers of spring that surround me and make the city more beautiful and encourage me to see the beauty in the city and my experience abroad even further.

Blumenkrantz, DG., & Goldstein l, MB. (2010). Rites of passage as a framework for community interventions with youth. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 1(2), 41-50.

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3 thoughts on “TL13 “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Lauren Kantrovitz, in Florence Italy. 

  1. I really appreciated how you mentioned the different experiences and rites of passages people have in your first paragraph. This is something I hadn’t given much thought to until I read your travel log. Often times transitions are so repetitive and set-in-stone that it’s almost expected that everyone matures and grows at the same rate and transitions to an adult at the same time. The truth is, especially in America, each individual grows up differently and experiences different life-changes that help them to leave their childhood behind and graduate into adulthood. Factors such as money, age, religion, schooling, parental guidance, and more all play roles in how a child matures. Which makes me think there shouldn’t be one set age or life event that determines when a child becomes adult.

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  2. Hey Lauren! I, too, have found walks and doing other activities to take time for myself have been very therapeutic, especially as our finals week is approaching and as we prepare to leave Italy. Taking in our surroundings and cherishing the simple charms of these beautiful Italian cities is so important. I have certainly learned to find the beauty in the simple things like you have during this time abroad. I also appreciated your reflection on the relationships that we have formed here. Like you, I have had people that I instantly click with, and others that I do not. As frustrating as diverse personalities can be in comparison to ours, it is important to not get too wrapped up in them and let them define the remainder of your experience (I’ve had to take my own advice). Instead, I have started viewing them as learning experiences and opportunities to mature and learn more about myself by learning about others. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your semester, and safe travels back to the U.S.!

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    • I love how you took learning about others as a way to learn more about yourself. Now that I reflect on my experience, I feel the same way and feel that my relationships, important and not, helped me mature and become the more independent person I am today.

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