This assignment involves your completing two tasks and writing about them in a two page, double spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 pt. paper.
Make arrangements to meet with someone (preferably from another culture, race or ethnicity). You can arrange a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even just a cup of coffee or tea. You can ask someone in our class whom you do not know, or you can approach someone sitting in Romo’s or the Cafeteria, or outside. If you are really uncomfortable, you can tell them this is for an assignment.
This assignment requires that you go out of your comfort zone. If you choose someone just like yourself or a friend of a friend, it is very likely you will learn nothing from this assignment. I know it may be uncomfortable, but that is the point of the assignment.
The rules are no cell phones at this meeting…the goal is to sit across from a stranger and show a willingness to engage him or her…to acknowledge their existence and look them in the eye and talk with them.
Ask them questions that will help you learn about their life, their family, their values, their religion, etc. I will leave it up to you to choose your own way to approach this person, and choose you own topics of conversation but here are some exceptions: What did you find that you have in common? (music, tv shows, movies, sports, etc.) In what areas did you find you were different? You may or may not choose to talk about politics, religious beliefs, morals, etc., but this is a choice you will make depending on how comfortable you are probing their beliefs. Were they raised very differently than you were? What surprised you the most about this conversation? How did you feel asking a “stranger” to sit with you and talk? Would you be more likely to do this again without it being an assignment?
It is possible that your request to this stranger may be rejected, but please try again if this happens. I understand that the results of this social experiment may not always be positive – the entire event may be awkward and uncomfortable, but it may also be enlightening. Going out of your comfort zone can also reap huge rewards, so please try to do this with someone you would not ordinarily be communicating with.
Commit a “Random Act of Kindness.” (RAOK) In order to qualify as a RAOK, you should do an unexpected kindness to someone you do not know. You should already be doing kind things for your friends and family. Your RAOK should involve a different person than your meeting with a stranger.
Describe your RAOK, who it involved, how the recipient reacted, if applicable, your reaction, and if you would try to make RAOKs a part of your daily life because of this experience.