What It's Like to Write About Your Life: Students Share Thoughts

We are in month 4 of the Reflections writing class at the Hayward Senior Center. Participants continue to return, many rearranging their schedules so they can be in the class, with each month bringing new students to add to our writing family.

There is a lot of partner work in class. We learn so much from each other about life and ourselves.

There is a lot of partner work in class. We learn so much from each other about life and ourselves.

Students are blown away by the writing process. They marvel at the work they produce, even though many join the class thinking, "I'm not a writer." 

They are shocked at how much writing they can produce month after month.

They are amazed at the memories that come forth through some guidance, some partner work, and some class tips.

Students love the structure the class offers: some brainstorming techniques, some charts, some conversation topics, which allow the memories to emerge in a relaxed manner.

Students are beginning to understand that along with memories come emotional memories. In class we always talk about how to support ourselves when painful memories come up. More importantly, students are experiencing first-hand that after exploring these painful areas also comes immense catharsis, insight, revelations that they hadn't thought about before and that actually impact their lives in the present. 

Hearing your work out loud adds another layer of understanding and appreciation, both in sharing your story and in hearing others'.

Hearing your work out loud adds another layer of understanding and appreciation, both in sharing your story and in hearing others'.

As for me, though I am the teacher, I learn from my students everyday: I learn about the resilience of the human spirit. The strength we find inside ourselves when we are going through difficult experiences, and the strength we all have (even if it surprises us) to explore the experiences through writing all these years later. Over and over I see how interconnected the human experience is: when students share their stories, no matter where in the world they're from, we all notice similarities in our life experiences. Which in itself is comforting and healing.

We are in month 4. Energy is high, the desire to continue our life exploration grows stronger each month, and class camaraderie depends exponentially as we hear each others' stories and offer support throughout the process.