We are around a week away from beginning our Mississippi adventure! While I’m excited for the new experiences and new people I will meet, I’m also fairly nervous.
Mississippi’s demographics are distinct from the Midwest. The racial makeup is different, yes, but there are many cultural differences that I will need to adjust to also. Prior to the trip, we talked about culture shock – which I truthfully was not overly concerned about. I’ve experienced culture shock before, and it was largely because I didn’t speak the language of the country and found it frustrating to maneuver about. However, our instructors, Dana Thomas and Dr. Phyllis Meadows pointed out ways that we would experience culture shock, even while speaking the same language as other Mississipians. I think the greatest hurdle I have to overcome is my “go, go, go!” mindset. I move quickly, think quickly, act quickly, and speak even quicker. I feel that my culture shock will result from having to sloooooow down. Way down. Things are not going to move at my pace, and the impact from our work will likely not be seen for a while. When interacting with community members, I will obviously need to slow my speech down to match the iconic slower pace of the South, but I will also need to take a step back and absorb what is around me before I start moving forward in any particular direction.
In essence, I’m nervous about our trip. I don’t really have a clear understanding of what we are doing, what the data looks like that we will be presenting, and who we will be presenting to. Furthermore – are the people that we are presenting to going to care about what we have to say? These things make me nervous, coupled with the fact that I might stick out like a sore thumb if I revert to my “go, go, go” mindset!