MONDAY POST-Comparing Experiences

As the Serbu Book Club wrapped up its summer session at the beginning of August, the small group of Outside participants are having the opportunity to reflect on their/our experiences before beginning anew in September. As always, the Book Club operated as an Inside-Out-like experience, but there are some significant differences in working with youth as well. Mackenzie, an Inside-Out alumna and Book Club member, reflects on her first experience with Book Club: Summer was my first term of book club, and I was initially struck by the differences between Book Club and Inside-Out.  I knew from returning members that the atmosphere was quite different, but attending book club for the first time was still a surprising experience.  While Book Club and Inside-Out share the same philosophies of equality and learning and teaching alongside each other instead of assuming an authoritative role, I noticed immediately that Book Club offers something that can be difficult to find and hold onto in an Inside-Out class: hope.  In Inside-Out, you meet wonderful, intelligent people who may be incarcerated for life.  The closer you become to these people, the more emotionally exhausting this knowledge can be.  In Book Club, however, the weight of this knowledge doesn’t exist because the youth are precisely that: young.  They have the opportunity to avoid incarceration as an adult and lead a fulfilled life.  For university students, Book Club provides an opportunity to participate in a youth’s transformation.  It is a unique, sometimes draining, experience as well, but the energy and potential of the youth also makes it a hopeful one.

-Mackenzie M.

Inside-Out Alumna