Lesson 1 — Getting in the Mental Space

To begin, I would like you to read Adrienne Rich’s speech “Claiming an Education” from the 1977 convocation at Douglass College.

Mindset, and more specifically attentional focus, is something that I think matters greatly in our work. This is born from my social justice/existentialist roots having been deeply influenced by the written expressions of lived experiences from Elie Wiesel, Audrey Lourde, Steven Biko, Victor Frankl, bell hooks, James Baldwin and others. This first session is designed to prompt your thinking and reflection.

In your reading and reflection, I encourage you to think about the idea of “claiming” in the context she describes (education and work for women) while also expanding this view to those, including women, who experience the current world-of-work from a “less-than” or marginalized perspective.

Read and enjoy this powerful 6 page reading.

Now that you have completed the reading, please spend 5 minutes in reflection Rich’s powerful speech. “Please take time to capture your thoughts in your a journal (either a Word document on your computer or your personal journal).

Which parts did you identify with personally? Which did you embrace easily? Which did you feel yourself (your inside, inner world self) want to push away?

This last question might serve as a beacon to the type of information or persons whom you wish to spend more time reflecting about through this course.

Now, I would like to guide you through the first dialogue for the course. I use the term dialogue versus lecture or presentation because I hope to engage you in a dynamic process of personal exploration and learning. We will see if this works as you watch the video below.

As a reminder, please have a writing utensil and a blank sheet of paper with you before you begin.


Now that you have finished with Lesson 1, answer questions 1-3 on your worksheet. Once finished with that, you can go to Lesson 2! Be sure to mark this lesson COMPLETE.