STEP reporting back

Name: Savannah Lally

Type of Project: Artistic and Creative Endeavor

1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

My STEP Signature Project was traveling to my mother’s birthplace, Lakeland, Florida, and learning all about how she was raised and about my family’s history. We explored the city of Lakeland and all of the places my mothers family would go, as well as the island where my great grandparents would spend their time.

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

My eyes were really opened up to the fact that I am so blessed and have so many opportunities available to me because of the sacrifices my family members have made. I am attending the university I have dreamed of attending since I was a little girl, and this experience has called me to reflect on how lucky I am and how I need to be more appreciative of what I have and what I can accomplish. I am more motivated to do my best in everything I can possibly want to achieve. The opportunity I have been given in life due to the struggles and hardships my family members have endured is something I will not take for granted.

3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

My father’s relatives all live very close to me in Ohio, so I have a good understanding of my ancestors on my father’s side. Since my mothers family mainly lives in Florida, I do not get to see them as often and have not inquired much about what our family’s history was like. This trip gave me the opportunity to dig deeper and create a newfound appreciation and motivation for my education and future career.

Seeing my mother’s old home and her tiny one-room school house was remarkable. She had class with 20 other students with ages ranging from 6-15 years old. Her grandmother was her teacher until she was 10 years old. Her mom made all of her clothes. My parents worked so hard to put me through private school and purchase clothes for me whenever I needed them. I cannot imagine growing up how my mother did. It is amazing to me, and her upbringing has positively impacted my life by teaching me to value what I accomplish and receive. Along with this, I got to hear stories about when my grandparents were in college. They lived off of a couple dollars a week and were raising a daughter on top of taking 20+ credit hours and while both working jobs. This brought my college experience into perspective. I keep myself busy with extracurriculars, a job, and a full schedule, but I only have to support myself. I do not have the added pressure of raising a family.

Additionally, my great grandmother told me stories about her growing up in Oklahoma and how the men got drafted and taken away from their homes to go to training. She said that since she lived near an army base, the men would come and go and a majority of them wouldn’t return because they were casualties of war. Her husband, my great grandfather, was a fighter pilot in the army. Luckily he returned, but her best friend’s husband did not. I could not imagine the hardship of losing the man I planned to spend the rest of my life with at such a young age. I am grateful for the relationships I have built with my friends and not having to be afraid I might lose them too young. I have always been appreciative of all the sacrifices my parents and family have made for me, but hearing about the struggles they endured made me gain a better understanding of what they went through.

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

This transformation is significant to my life because it allows me to see where I come from and use that knowledge to understand that I can accomplish everything I put my mind to and will always have a strong support system behind me. Seeing all that my family went through just to provide a better life for my siblings and me, gives me hope that I can do the same for my future family. I have such positive role models to look up to and this trip has instilled a newfound confidence and passion for reaching my full potential in life. Starting out in my junior year of college has been very stressful with trying to decide what I want to do with my life, planning for grad school and graduation, and trying to network with companies and future employers, this trip has provided me with the endurance to finish strong.