Sam Harrison ’20

The Power of Stickers: More than Just a Prerequisite

Most colleges have some prerequisites students must complete before they can begin working on their major. Usually, these classes are your average, run-of-the-mill classes that kind of just pass in a haze without leaving much of an impression on you. But are they always that bland? Franklin College alum Sam Harrison reveals how one prerequisite at Franklin College can feel just as rewarding as your major classes.

For her freshman immersive term class, the Franklin-native decided to fulfill one of her liberal arts curriculum requirements with a class for which she had low expectations. The class travelled to Eagle Creek Peace Learning Center and were trained as peace educators — or, in other words, they taught kids about bullying.

Sam Harrison“I went in and I worked with a fourth-grade class for about half a month. We did this activity with the class\ in which we were going to show these kids that ‘Othering’ individuals happens naturally.
We lined them up and put stickers on their heads. Every kid got a circle sticker that was a different color, and two kids got square stickers. Then we said, ‘Okay, look at your stickers, don’t tell each other which ones you have, and figure out how to put yourselves in groups.’” – Harrison

Sam originally expected the kids put themselves into small groups as a way of showing the kids how people can naturally divide themselves and exclude others. However, the students flipped the English major’s expectations upside down.

“This one kid looked at the kids with the squares and saw how confused and scared they were. Suddenly, they all get into this big group in the middle of the room, and said, ‘Okay we’re done.’ We waited for a minute then asked, ‘You’re done grouping each other?’ He said, ‘Yeah, um, we all have stickers on our heads, so we’re one big group.’ And I thought, ‘Oh my God, they saw through the activity!’” – Harrison

The children’s refusals to exclude their peers from the overall group is an experience that has stuck with Sam since her freshman year at Franklin College. Thanks to this seemingly simple liberal arts requirement, Sam gained a powerful and heartwarming memory that puts the world into perspective — something you can’t get in a regular classroom.

“I just see so much hope in the world — and sometimes it’s hard. But sometimes I’ll think, ‘Man, but those kids.’ They got it, they really got it. It was a bright moment that I’ve had, and I feel like I was able to give these kids that moment to shine.” – Harrison

At Franklin, our liberal arts curriculum is more than requirement to fulfill — it offers possibilities to explore and powerful moments you never expected to experience. Don’t just sit in a classroom for four years. Schedule a tour of Franklin and see what opportunities await you.