Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's Kind of a Bittersweet Feeling

Today we went through practice rounds of our Action Plans. It was really helpful to get a sense of how tomorrow is going to be, but without all the pressure.

Right before I did my speech, I was extremely nervous, thinking of everything that could go wrong. As I got up front to deliver my presentation, I focused on staying calm and all of the tips that Jennifer had given us last week. I made sure to keep good eye contact, which was hard because I had to keep looking down at my notes. I also made sure to keep a steady neutral position, as well as make sure my voice was loud and clear.

When I first stood in front of the class, I was nervous because I hadn't had time to practice my speech very much, and I was also nervous about the question section. Once I started talking, I found that it really wasn't that bad, because I knew what I wanted to say, and I knew that because my Action Plan is so important to me, I would do a good job.

Immediately after I did my Action Plan and sat down to listen to the next speaker, the realization that we're flying back home tomorrow really hit me. While I do miss the Bay Area and my friends and family, I am going to miss the Women and Leadership class so much. I have learned so much in only two weeks, and I am so grateful to have been able to experience this class. I still can't believe how fast these past two weeks have gone. Women and Leadership was definitely the best class I could have taken this summer.

On the very first day of class, I remember being so surprised at how interesting the students were. I was also so amazed at how passionate Dean Almandrez is about the subject she teaches. I am so lucky to have been able to take one of her classes, even if it was only for two weeks. Women and Leadership was definitely ten times better with Dean Almandrez as the teacher!

For lunch, we met with the Yale cohort at the V-Dub. I sat by Josh and Liam, who are in Grand Strategy. Their class sounds extremely difficult, but they are definitely up for it! Listening to Liam and Josh talk about their class made me interested in it, but I am still 100% positive that Women and Leadership was the best class I could have taken.

After lunch we finished the Action Plan presentations, and then did a short case study, where Dean Almandrez gave four groups a situation in which we had to make the best decision that would benefit all parties. My group's situation was that there was a "colored women's meeting," and in the morning session, only African American women were allowed to attend, but the afternoon session was open to the public. The student body wanted to open the entire session to the public. We decided to leave the morning session open only for African American women, but simultaneously hold a session for non colored women. The afternoon session would then be open to the public, where attendees from the previous sessions could come and share their thoughts while getting to hear the male perspective. It was interesting to see issues like the ones we have discussed in class get applied to a real-life situation.

On our way back to the dorms after class, we stopped at CVS to pick up note cards on which to write our Action Plan notes. Unfortunately, as I was buying mine, I accidentally left my phone by the self-checkout. I had walked all the way back to the dorms by the time I realized that I had forgotten my phone! Luckily a CVS employee had picked it up for me, which I was relieved about. I got so lucky!

After I ran to go pick up my phone, I began packing for our flight tomorrow (it sounds so weird to say that our flight is tomorrow). I had already packed all of my clothing and thought that I had an immense amount of room left, until I realized that I still had to pack my sheets and blanket. I guess I might have to do some rearranging in my suitcase...
Packing.

It's still so hard to fathom that we've been here for a full two weeks already. Going home will be a bittersweet feeling. There are so many things that I miss back at home, yet so many things I will miss here at Brown.

Bittersweet is really the best way to describe how I am feeling right now. "It's kind of bittersweet. The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart," Yakov Smirnoff once said. I think this quote illustrates how many of us are feeling at the moment. I think what matters is that we implement our Action Plans, because I know how much we each care about them. If we do this, I think just the act of fulfilling our Action Plans will bring us closer together, even if we're far apart.


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