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What’s Your Story?

In his remarkable memoir Saroo Brierley takes his readers into the world of a child learning to navigate a seemingly endless variety of challenges as he struggles first with his family, then alone, to get food, to play, to live, and finally to begin that longest of journeys home. Each situation presents him with myriad obstacles. He has to overcome, subdue, or address the pressures within him to panic and to despair.

He has to try and figure out the social, geographical, and physical meaning of signs he cannot read, people he can hardly understand, and places he cannot situate as he tries to eat, sleep, and survive. All the while he must keep in check that fear that seems ready to overwhelm him at five. He carries with him his own prejudices that often prevent him from getting the help he desperately needs. His fear of men in uniforms keeps him from asking for help from those who might have a duty to help a lost child. The world around him in his early years is largely indifferent if not hostile.

After reading this story and/or watching the movie, think of your own life and how you figure out your world. Reflect on how you are figuring out this new world of college at Albany State University. You are far from a lost 5 year-old from a small village in central India. However, the strangeness of a new world with new rules, demands, expectations, and even language can reduce any thinking person to feeling very much like a lost child longing for home.

Capture your own reflections, challenges, ideas, and hopes on paper, in journal form, or as a video. Think of where you came from, where you are, and where you want to go. What are the new languages and social structures you are having to learn? By languages do not think merely of English, Spanish, French, etc. Instead think of language as the ways of communicating used by different groups of people all speaking the same language. For example, your athlete friends may have a different or slightly different language from your musician or theater friends. Your grandmother probably has a different language from your roommate. Your professor may have a different language from both of them. The language you use in class is different from that you use in the dining hall or in a late night talk with friends. All this seems obvious in some ways. Stretch yourself to see the new languages you need to learn to succeed here at Albany State and in the world beyond.

Essay and print journal: 1000 words. Video 15 minutes. (If you choose the video option, write and submit a script for the video of at least 600 words.)

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