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Reflection from a Tired, Happy Senior

Why do students participate in Buddies Without Borders Forums? What do they get out of it other than awards? Here is an excerpt of a reflection that explained the purpose and the outcome so wonderfully. Written by Cheidza Banga, a Zimbabwean who is studying at Branksome Hall Asia in South Korea:

“If you have the choice between being right and being kind, choose being kind” (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer)

My motivations for participating, contributing, and completing Be The Change have changed dramatically. At first, I came here to win a few things: a lucrative internship, a brilliant experience on my CV. As a senior, I saw myself as checking a box: doing amazing in an area I feel I excel at - writing. Acknowledging this when I actually got, I even made it a goal to try and gain something deeper than a material win. I needed to truly put myself into something, to mature in a way not possible anywhere else.
I knew that if I made the most posts, uploaded the most comments, got the most points...just did everything that was demanded of me and reached out further, I'd be able to win. We humans enjoy rewards, because they serve as an incentive to work harder, be better, look smarter. Be the Change in particular operates on "variable ratio" reward system
In order to get an internship, we have to achieve the most points out of the forum. Those points can change because someone can make millions of posts to get above another. There is no fixed value, because you never know if there will be one 5 pointer that week, or 3 of them. Understanding this, I tried my best to put myself above others. But I knew if I kept going I’d burn myself out.... This is why I’ve taken a considerable step back in terms of commenting and posting of BWB. I want my posts to be interesting, heartfelt, and emotional. I want my hyperlinks to be fun, and something others can delve into in their free time. We are buddies, after all. We may be competing, but we’re collaborating as well.
The longer I’ve spent in Be The Change, the more I’ve found myself admiring everyone in this group. You’re all amazing, and you all come in different, insightful forms of people. I see your motivations in your posts, and I’ve found myself truly inspired by every single one of you. So here’s to
the hardworkers,
the do-gooders,
the essay writers,
the fearless fighters,
the forgivers,
the intelligent procrastinators,
the travellers,
The future leaders,
All of which have a dazzling future. Many of you will enter your last two years of school, many more will find something daunting, intimidating, and oh-so-very far away. But take what you have learned here. Not just the content, but the people.
We have a chance to talk to people from all over the world, which is something not many have the privilege to do. “There is power in these formed alliances,”a power which we can carry for life. We can empathize with each other from different viewpoints. This..this is what I have truly taken away from Be The Change. The Refrigerators formed an essay which I can say I am truly proud of. We weaved history, social appeals, and personal voice into every paragraph, and I feel my heart swell with joy every time I read over it. That pride is my true win.
I hope to continue forwarding my kindness to others, bit by bit. We all have amazing things to share, and I believe it's unkind to ourselves to hide it away.
So I will close off my post participation in this forum by saying thank you.
Thank you for reading my posts,
Thank you replying with questions,
Thank you for reading these very many words from a
Winning Senior.

Cheidza's team won the Best Presentation and she will be helping us create a book based on the research and essays in the Be the Change: Creating a Kinder World Forum.

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