Reflect and Share: Hopes, Hills, and Happiness

After listening and reading the poem, students were asked to  reflect about the hills they climbed in their lives. This activity was done either individually or in a group.  Students were also asked to think about how either the class, NCC, or the community can help you with their hills. Some students created a drawing and/or capture photographic images about how the poem moved them.

This collage consists of a selection of photos chosen by the students in our class, 7792, that we feel represent the verses in the poem “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman. Gorman presented the poem at the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. The poem describes the state of the nation at the time, and how we as a nation still need to work towards national unity to come together to see through the greater challenges we face; to leave the country a better place for those yet to come. While there are still obstacles, we believe we will overcome them to yield a brighter future.

An Anonymous Reflection
A line that really stuck out to me in Amanda Gorman’s poem as I was listening to it was “We seek harm to none and harmony for all”. I like this line a lot because I think that not only does it flow well and sound very memorable due to the flow of the words, but it has a meaning that I like and agree with. It also could apply to a wide range of different things. People are, or at least should be, searching for universal harmony. People are, or should be, seeking no harm or pain or struggle to anyone.
Many other lines stuck out to me through the entirety of the poem, and if I had to choose more lines, I would probably end up listing the entire poem. But essentially, this entire poem I thought was really good. Amanda Gorman’s poem had a lot to say about making change and growth. I saw this with the specific line I pointed out earlier, but it returns a lot. With the line “for there is always light as long as we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it”, Gorman says that we are in charge of who we want to become and enduring through the struggles that come with it is important because the outcome is always positive. Amanda Gorman’s poem also had a lot to say about how to bring about this change. With the line “if we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made”, it’s clear that she has specific ideas in how to bring about this change. The connections you make with others are what will bring improvement, not your individual power. “So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left” and “with every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one” sum up this poem extremely well. The strive for improvement is constant in this poem, and it’s easy to see why. Amanda Gorman is very passionate about this, and through not only this poem but in all other aspects, it’s clear that she will continue to be.

Brian Valdovinos
Professor Buchta’s course

The hills I climbed in my life were very challenging and difficult. I had to move around a lot when I was younger, and it became harder for me to settle as well dealing with constant changing friendships all the time. I have also dealt with a language barrier, learning English was essential for me and although it took me some time, I was able to do it. School and the obstacles that come with it was hard for me sometimes but following high school I learned a lot of things that will help me going forward. Even now, my life is still rapidly changing, growing as a young adult and trying to get accustomed to the new changes I am experiencing. At NCC, what I am learning here is how to be more responsible as a young adult, but also the necessary skills that I am going to need for when I transfer to a university/college but also when I have my career. NCC in my opinion, is essential to climbing the hills that I will encounter in my life in the future. For better or for worse. It’s because of these hills in my life that I am where I am today. At times however, my happiness has sort of been like a roller-coaster. It’s been good and bad. But these challenges, these obstacles that I have faced from these hills, have given me a better understanding of myself personally. Throughout certain parts in my life, I didn’t necessarily have a great understanding of myself. I would experience mood swings because of the stress I had from the obstacles I would encounter. Whether it was pressure from school, or the constant change in my surroundings, it was hard for me to really focus on myself. I am proud of the person I have become today, because me being in the position that I am right now just shows that I was able to climb the hills that troubled me at different times in my life. And it’ll be something for me to look back at when I eventually reach the height of success I have dreamed of for so long. It’s going to tell me that I persevered through the hardships I encountered and that I could be able to do anything if I only put the time and effort in. The picture below that I picked is of a man climbing a mountain/hill, while a silhouette of a well-dressed man overlooking a city. It tells me that If I want to be like the man watching a city, I need to climb the hills and surpass the obstacles that life will throw at me. Nothing comes easy and nothing is ever given.

Nicole Martins
Professor Clark’s CRN 8117 course

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman is a very powerful and hard-hitting poem. In it Gorman is talking about The United States and how as citizens of this country there is still a lot to be done. Instead of critiquing our country or focusing on the negatives of it, which she very well could have done, she brings it back to how we can grow together. This idea of coming together as a country is not a new one but Gorman speaks on it as a past, present, and future concern. She acknowledges that the past is a great contributor to our present problems, “It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” (Gorman). We must look back on our history and not forget the mistakes we have made, her just mentioning our difficult history is an example of how we must face it and conquer it. She then goes on to say how we in the present can act on this injustice so that our kids of the future are left with something we are proud of. She brings it back to the importance of acting now, so that our futures could be brighter. Our actions directly affect the future, “For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”.

Another point that I liked was when she addressed that we the citizens don’t desire a perfect country, we want change of the flaws already present. She does this saying “And yes we are far from polished. Far from pristine. But that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge a union with purpose,”. This to me makes me think of what others might think “change” is. It is not to make a brand-new country or make it “perfect” as Gorman says, but it means to fix the things in our country that aren’t working. This line is a good and clear way of saying this message. Image: