Monday, August 5, 2013

Home Again, Home Again

Friday felt very surreal. As I woke up, I realized it would be the last time I stepped out of my dorm room bed. I looked over at Ariana, my roommate, and realized I wouldn't be rooming with her anymore.

After getting over this initial sadness, Ariana went off to her class and I stayed behind to finish packing. Luckily, my class started an hour later on Friday so I had plenty of time to pack up my belongings. At 8:30, Ms. Neal texted to say she was downstairs and ready to take our bags. I did one final sweep of my side of the dorm room to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything and then closed the door for the last time.

Getting down the dorm stairs with my luggage was quite an adventure. Right away I decided that, rather than take two trips up and down the stairs, I would attempt to carry everything down at once. So there I was, at the top of the stairs, with my giant backpack, my computer bag, and my 45 pound suitcase, ready to go. About halfway down, after running over my feet with the suitcase several times, I began to regret this decision to carry everything down at once. Luckily, I made it down the stairs without any fatal injuries and met Ms. Neal and my other cohorts outside of Perkins Hall. With our luggage in Ms. Neal's van, we didn't have to worry about trying to move out later or carrying around a bunch of stuff. 

Elia and I had a nice breakfast at a cafe then walked over to our class. This final day of class was spent reflecting. Dean Almandrez had us write terms and skills that we had learned and I was surprised at the length of the list. Although I knew I had learned all those, I was still baffled that all this could be learned and digested in two weeks. 

Then, we did an activity where we sat in a circle and closed our eyes. Dean Almandrez would silently tap a few people to open their eyes and go to the middle of the circle. Next, Dean Almandrez read out statements such as: "Touch someone who has made you feel good about yourself." or "Touch someone who inspires you." and the people in the middle of the circle would go around and tap the people they thought rang true to the statement. Everyone had their turn to go up and tap people. I believe the point of this game was so you could anonymously recognize someone for something they did that impacted you. It's not always easy to go up to someone and say, "Hey, you made me feel good about myself" and this game allowed me to do that.

We spent our last portion of class sharing good memories from these past two weeks. It got really emotional and the things people were saying were really touching. We'd grown so close in the past two weeks, basically like sisters, and I could tell we were all sad to face the reality that we would no longer wake up and see each other every day. 

Women & Leadership class!
During lunch, my nerves about my Action Plan presentation skyrocketed. Luckily, Julia was there to assure me that everything would be fine and she even let me practice my presentation to her a few times. After lunch, all the students of the Leadership Institute gathered in an auditorium. The staff and teachers were able to say a few words and then we watched a slideshow of pictures from the week. And then, it was time to present.

The presentations were much less scary than I'd imagined. We all broke up into separate groups and went into separate classrooms. There were six students in my classroom (one of them from my Women and Leadership class) and four family members. With this group size, I felt like I could just talk directly do them, so I was able to loosen up while presenting. 

With a successful presentation behind me, I was able to relax and say my goodbyes. 

Dean Almandrez!

Heidi, one of my TAs!

Goodbye, Brown.
The first flight to Chicago was quick and easy. I sat next to Julia who made fun of my music the whole time but she was also listening to my music the whole time, so I suspect she was secretly enjoying the music. On the second flight I sat next to Crystal. We talked a lot for the first couple of hours then attempted to nap. Planes are probably the most uncomfortable places to sleep so I only fell asleep for ten minutes here and there.

Finally, our plane landed and we made our way to baggage claim where our families were waiting for us. Seeing my mom after three weeks away was so great and I'd missed her so much. We collected my bags, said goodbye to my cohorts, and made our way home.

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