Human connection is the most important part of life to me. I really value great relationships and look forward to connecting with new people every chance I get. Obviously, I am not going to have the same views on every single topic as anyone else. I think we make the biggest growth as human beings when we connect with people who have very different perspectives than our own, and we are willing to see things through their eyes. It does not mean that will always lead us to the same conclusion or change our own perspective in any way.

I use the phrase, “life is all about perspective” all the time, but how much the concept of contested territory is related to perspective did not really hit me until Morgan Pitelka was presenting his seminar, “Memory and Commemoration.” He discussed the Yūshūkan War/ Military Museum in Tokyo, Japan and explained that the Japanese people say the museum is a place of memorial for the lost soldiers, while others see it as a place to glorify Japan’s violent military past. There were other strong examples of contested perspectives throughout my time here in North Carolina, but that moment brought it all together for me.

– Breann Johnston (Middle School Teacher)