What would you share if you had the opportunity to speak to 700 students?

What would you share if you had the opportunity to speak to 700 students?

03 July 2024 88 views

About the Fellow Travelers' contribution for the ISC by Jacinta Gorchs

“Ready for the journey? Active members of the Global Youth Section Network will creatively share meaningful stories about their work, initiatives, and projects, as well as their personal experiences as young people finding their way in the world....”

The Fellow Travelers
Berenika Lehrman, Jacinta Gorchs, Lāsma Kokoreviča, Leonards Kokorevičs, Leonora Meier-Nielsen,
Lisa van Holsteijn, Magdalena Ries, Marilha Ferreira Balieiro, Sophie Khadurishvili, Tania Prince, Yuuki Fujisawa.

The International Students' Conference has traditionally been organized by the Youth Section at the Goetheanum and the board representatives of the Waldorf schools in Germany (Waldorf SV), together with young people from other youth initiatives who are connected to this event in different ways. However, the International Students’ Conference hasn’t been intrinsically connected to the worldwide network of the Youth Section, perhaps because it has always taken place at the Goetheanum; until now.

Since the beginning of the organizing process of the International Students' Conference, the organizing team had a strong wish to build a more conscious bridge between the Conference and the Youth Section’s network, which consists of active groups of young people across the world who are working with anthroposophy. How could this be an event not only carried by the team at the Goetheanum but also by the network of co-workers?

One of the ideas that came up was to send out a special invitation for the Youth Section co-workers to host workshops, which were going to be a very significant part of the program. It had also already been decided that one of the sessions would involve a "youth panel”, to which young people would be invited to contribute something of their experience of what it is like to be young today. But who were those young people going to be?

It quickly became apparent that such a panel could be a great place for the Youth Section’s network to take the initiative and prepare something special for the students.

“What would you say, do, or share, if you had the opportunity to be in front of 700 students?”

A group of 11 Youth Section co-workers - fellow travelers - from 9 different countries worked with this question to create a meaningful contribution. But why the "fellow travelers"?

If you have had the opportunity to travel, seeking new horizons and experiences, you may have perceived in yourself a certain openness, an attitude of interest toward anything new. In many cases, you meet fellow travelers; people like you who are also looking for new horizons and experiences. Also, an image which in a way, reveals something of the spirit of the Youth Section: an attitude of wonder and interest in discovering oneself through the world and others.

There is something about this moment in life, this journey of discovery that is very special. Something that awakens between being at the end of your high school journey looking out of a window with fear, curiosity, and excitement, to the moment of heading towards the door that leads out into the world.

What does that transition look like? What are the big challenges of our time? Do we have the courage to open ourselves to share about a vulnerable or challenging situation? Can we find ways to address some of the big challenges of our generation, in relation to a moment of our biography?

These were some of the questions that guided us as we tried to find our way together, taking heart!

We decided to carry backpacks during our contribution and to make a dynamic use of the space: not what one necessarily imagines as a "youth panel". We grouped in pairs and trios and used the main stage as a meeting point to share our stories, while the others (those who were also sharing their stories) "traveled" around the room.

The fellow travelers shared questions, fears, and challenges, as well as ways to address them through our own experiences in life. We also had "meaningful messages" that we felt were important to share and could also serve as a synopsis of our stories. Some of the stories or life experiences were intimate, others were aspirational, but all of them were unique and told from the heart.

Berenika: “How many tiny encounters are constantly changing our lives."

Jacinta: “There, where your gifts and the needs of the world meet, lays your vocation.”
The origin of this quote is often said to be traced back to Aristotle.

Sophie: “Don’t rush! You’ve got plenty of time.”
Leonards: “Find your inner voice.”

Lāsma: “Accept and trust your destiny. Mistakes are good, they make you grow.”
Leonora: “How can I live my life in such a way that you are free?” Inspired by Orland Bishop.
Yuuki: “There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.” Taken from the song 'Anthem' by Leonard Cohen.
Marilha: “What matters is not the perfection in which we can carry out what has to come from the will, but rather, that what has to come into life even if it comes imperfectly, is done once so that there is a beginning.” Rudolf Steiner.
Tania: “Serve those who you aspire to!”
Lisa: “Have the courage to trust in the ever-present help of the spiritual world.”
Magdalena: “Listen to your heart to find the right way."

The openness and vulnerability of the “fellow travelers”, as they shared parts of their biographies, created a very special mood in the hall. Below you’ll read some reflections from the audience:

“At the age of 18 there aren’t many more meaningful things than listening to people in their twenties share stories about what brought them to the place they are in. I can easily recall the openness and honesty these people spoke with and find great comfort in it being on my own journey.”
Aster, part of the organising team of the ISC 2024.

“To hear the Fellow Traveler's stories really filled my heart. It made me remember the importance of trusting in life and the world. I have often found this trust when I needed it and lost it again in times of doubt.”
Helena, participant of the ISC 2024.

“Listening to the experiences of individual stories is like looking at the landscapes of this world, so many roads, cities, mountains, lakes and seas, so many opportunities and possibilities. Listening to the Fellow travelers was like having a whole galaxy on stage.”
Toribio, participant of the ISC 2024.

"On the #ISC24, I had the great opportunity to get to know some students who traveled all around the world. They gave helpful advice on how to plan our “journey” after school. I got inspired by the short stories about “traveling” after school.”
Nica, participant of the ISC 2024.