Narrating Immigration and Discovering the Learning Lab

two students listen to Capstone projects together (Two students sit together listening to reflection videos at the Capstone Fair for Expos 20: Narrating Immigration)


The first thing I remember feeling about the Learning Lab was confusion: where in the world was 50 Church Street?? My expos class, Narrating Immigration, was scheduled to come into the Bok Center to work on our Capstone projects, filming reflection videos about a time when we had harmed the immigrant community in some way, shape, or form. However, as early as I was, I couldn’t for the life of me find where I was supposed to go.

Eventually, with the help of the class GroupMe, I found my way to the second floor of the most nondescript office building ever and walked into the least nondescript space I had ever seen: the Learning Lab. The second thing I remember feeling was awe. I remember immediately smiling and dissecting the different aspects of joy around me -- the roundness of the giant chairs, the constant rainbows in flowers and cards and multi-colored brush pens… The Learning Lab felt like a place where I could create.

I was grateful to be a few minutes early -- it gave me time to marvel with my fellow students and to take everything (well a lot of it) in.

what an awesome place

Then we got started on workshopping our projects according to Jordan’s newest procedure. Instead of coming to class with our narratives scripted or thoroughly planned, we were just told to have an idea ready. Then, Jordan ran us through the process. First, we would have two minutes to brainstorm on Bok cards, then we would have three minutes each to present to our partners. After that, we would have three minutes to give each other feedback. We would do this three times, with three different partners.

At first, it was unnerving to present something so half-formed to my classmates, but by the third time, I’d developed a pretty solid story. When my name was randomly drawn to give presenting a try, I was ready, and I went into the small recording studio and filmed my reflection for my peers. I’d never used such fancy equipment, and I didn’t always do a perfect job of looking at the camera, but Jordan helped me through the process, and I felt supported by her and my class.

students film their reflection videos gif

(students film their reflection videos)


Going back to the Learning Lab a few weeks later to film the real deal was magical. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would look different (after all, most learning spaces tend to stay the same year after year), and I was overjoyed to see the different layout and especially the tree which had appeared in the corner. I was already interested in applying to be a LLUF, but seeing the space again sealed the deal. Jordan gave me one of the info cards, and I was ready to roll.

I applied a few weeks later, writing about my excitement at the joy of the space and the way it seemed to encourage (even demand) creativity. The Learning Lab seemed like a magical place to me, and I felt so lucky to get to be a part of it. After working there for a semester, I can definitely back that up. Learning should be something filled with joy, community, and color, and that is what the Learning Lab provides. So now, the most recent thing I remember feeling about the Learning Lab? Gratitude for the spark it adds to my days.

gif of Jordan being happy