Visiting North City Congress (NCC) along with my peers was a very informative and exciting experience for me. To be able to host an uninterrupted, casual conversation with my elders about their pasts was intriguing. I was really shocked by the fact that the people I spoke with opened up to me, a complete stranger, about the hardships they encountered in life. Simply by judgment, many of today’s youth believe that the elderly are stubborn and rude, unwilling to waste any more of their time on indulging children and teens’ rambunctious behavior and constant questions. Truthfully, my expectations for our visit to North City Congress were far from kind. I imagined that the conversations would be unbearably awkward (mostly because of my own inability to properly engage in a casual conversation with a stranger without the slightest bit of anxiety) and boring. Despite being told to never embrace stereotypes, I could not bring myself to totally release the lingering thoughts that anyone older than me would immediately state how great my generation has it and how they did not have this or that and still managed to refrain from complaining; all things I have heard before many times.
However, when I arrived at the NCC, the residents there were very welcoming. Once they were informed that our group wanted to interview any willing participants for our upcoming projects, they were all smiles and introductions. Although we were not able to have one-on-one interviews, with a lengthy list of questions in hand, we all gathered around tables and happily organized a quick group session of questions. For approximately three hours, our time quickly flew by as we were drawn decades back into the past by the personal success stories of those around us. For once, I am truly enthusiastic to admit that I was wrong. Not only did the men and women I spoke with offer new insight on the bridge between the past and the present, but they were always very motivational when doing so. After our departure and a quick debrief on the things that each person experienced and encountered during our visit, I realized that there were so many more people that I would have been delighted to learn about. I also realized that our ambitions are not wrongly placed and choosing to pursue making a change in our education systems today was a brilliant idea, though change seems far away. Meeting with the occupants of NCC only aided in furthering my aspiration for the possible growth and improvement of our chosen topic. As William Keitt, a very wise man we were given the pleasure of interviewing, stated, “When you plant a seed, you don’t see the change the same day.”