Thursday, August 1, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

Written on the Dorm Stairwell
Today was our last academic day at Brown. The feelings I have are bittersweet. I am so blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to come here, meet new people, and better myself and my community. I am bitter with the sadness of leaving brown, yet sweet with the lasting memories I have made. I new this day would come, but now that we are at the end, I'm not sure what to think. 

We practiced speeches today in class, in order to be prepared for our presentations tomorrow. We all signed up on a big list and went in order, saying our speeches, answering questions and getting feedback. I was 11th, almost dead middle. I would have rather gone earlier, but those spots filled up quickly. 

When it came time for my speech, I was a bit nervous. Everyone who had already gone was great at their speeches, so the pressure was on. I went up to the front of the room and surprisingly I was very nervous of myself. My topic is personal to my heart and sharing a story I have never publicly spoke of was difficult for me. I finished my speech without breaking down or becoming to emotional and I was happy for being able to share my thoughts. I didn't have a speech prepared beforehand; I wrote down my thoughts on a piece of notepaper quickly before I got up. I was pleasantly surprised when people said that they loved the emotions I showed and how connected they felt to me. I was also a little shocked when I realized my speech was only 2 minutes long, rather than 3 1/2 or 4 minutes long. I was glad to have gotten the feedback from my peers that I needed more details in my speech about my action plan itself. I also was glad to be able to practice my speech and get more comfortable with my information. 

We went to lunch after a few more presentations. At lunch, we met with the Yale cohort who had been touring Brown today. We took them to the dinning hall. It was strange to see people at the start of their journey whilst we are just approaching the end of ours. We talked to them about Brown courses, dorms, and the overall Brown experience. It was strange to me to see others so fresh in their experience and to see all the potential growth they will do in the weeks to come. I know for myself that this experience has molded me into a more confident and aware member of society. I feel more conscious of myself and others around me.

When we went back to class, we began again with the speeches. Everyone had a chance to present and get feedback from the group. Every person in this class is so unique and beautiful in their ideas, and it was such a great opportunity to be able to meet each of them. We all ended our speeches by saying how wonderful it was to be in the company of each other for these weeks. 

To end the class, we did some case studies; fictional events that resemble real life experiences we will face. We had to then come up with how we would react to the situation. My group's topic was a man asking us to sign a petition for a male empowerment and masculinity group. The question at first seemed like a flat no to me, but as I thought about it I wondered what the group would really be about. We decided that until we had asked more questions, like what is the purpose of the group we could not sign the petition. We thought maybe the group was set up to encourage the self esteem of boys who do not fit the male stereotypes. We did however understand it was called a male empowerment group which isn't possible because they are already in the dominant position. We decided that at the end of the day, we would have most likely not been morally able to agree to sign the petition. 

This activity was interesting because it showed me how all the things we have learned in class can be applied to situations of decision. We then said how difficult it was for all of us to make these tough decisions, and Dean Almandrez said it will never be easy, and there will be many battles, but practice makes perfect.

After class, I went back to the dorms and walked into my room. It was so strange, I knew I needed to pack up to go home, but it felt weird to be leaving. I packed my bags as best I could without packing away the things I still need. I remember the first time I walked into the dorms, yet I feel like a different person now.

The Last Leadership Meeting
I then went to the last leadership meeting. They talked about how to turn in keys, leave the dorms, and what to expect tomorrow. It was sad to see all the people I had made such deep connections with getting ready to leave.  I will be sad to leave Brown, but I hope to see it again sometime. Until then, Brown.
Until Then

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