Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brown is not Dull -- Brown is Beautiful.

I woke up with a heavy heart. Today was our last day at Brown University. Everyone in the class was special to me in a unique way. I would miss Kisa, My (our leadership fellow) and every single one of the young ladies that I bonded with. The growth I achieved from being in this leadership class is more than I have gained in my entire life thus far. So with a sorrow for leaving Brown but a joy for learning so much, I left for class.

My roommate, Kristi! 

My awesome friend, Tierra and I! 

From Durham, North Carolina, Erica! 

The more, the merrier! 

We did not do any workshops or lectures today. Instead, we were told to write a letter to ourselves that would be sent to our homes near December. The purpose was to remind ourselves of what we learned during the summer course and to apply to our daily lives; we didn’t want this to be something we would forget. So I wrote to myself and hopefully by the time I get the letter, I will not have forgotten the priceless things I learned about women and leadership. As I’ve said time and time again, Summer@Brown was a life-changing experience. 


My, Kisa and Selene

Class Picture! 

We continued on with writing positive comments about each person in our class. Every person in the course was special to me in some way or another. I made it a goal to write something different for each person that related their presence to me. There is so much I learned from the other girls. Their cultures, their histories, their backgrounds, all contributed to my understanding of diversity. I underestimated what diversity is and now I know that it does not only mean a difference in race and socioeconomic status, but also a difference in childhood, beliefs, and ethics among other things. 

Looking back at what I've learned in class, I realized many things. Real learning does not take place as memorizing facts, dates and books; learning is taken from life experience. We learned about life from a woman's point of view, not that it cannot only apply to women, but to everyone. Learning is taking a bit from every part of the world and implementing that into our daily lives. We've had that very concept integrated into our course this summer. As I will use in my presentation today, "Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself." This quote, by the American philosopher John Dewey, inspired me to think about what education genuinely is. It describes our experience at Brown perfectly and I know that I finally found some closure to our class on the East Coast. 
Discussing in class

My proud friend hailing from Chicago, Trina. She was an inspiration to me.

The leadership fellow from our class, My (as in Me but spelled differently) and Kristi. We were being silly

My was such a great person! We all bonded with her

Just thought I'd like for everyone to know what snacking at Brown while studying for two weeks ends up being... 

We concluded the last class and headed for lunch. I spent my lunch working on my Action Plan to polish it off. I was a bit nervous about my presentation, but I knew that if it didn’t go as well as I wanted, I would only learn from it. Life is about making mistakes, and if I mess up, it’s okay. I have plenty of time to learn. I kept in mind that my confidence and public speaking skills have improved considerably since day one and I would be fine. With those thoughts in mind, I left for our presentations. 

Dean Rose welcomed everyone to the Leadership presentations. I loved how she integrated all we’ve learned into her speech -- she was very inspiring. We finally split into groups and I was to be presenting to Dean Rose herself. As usual, I was a bit jittery before I presented but I managed to get through it. It was now or never. 
Dean Rose introducing the Action Plan Presentations

All in all, it went well and I was very pleased that Dean Rose told me I did an awesome job and I articulated myself very well. She said I did better than most, but being very hard on myself, I found this comment surprising but joyful and I appreciated it very much. When it comes to presenting, the saying, “practice makes perfect” comes to mind. With experience, it becomes less and less difficult to talk in front of a large audience. I will make sure to push myself when I present so I can become a better leader for all. 

Afterward, we met on the Main Green on campus and took final pictures with our new friends and professors. Although the weather was raining on our parade (literally, except for the parade part since there was no parade obviously), it did not stop us from our good-byes and departures. It was sad to see some friends leaving already; I felt like we each had a special bond with each other. We’ve grown not individually, but together, interlaced with our experiences, passions, mistakes, doubts and most importantly, our hearts. We’ve each taken to each other in a special way. 

Dean Rose, Irene and I 


Kisa and I 

- - - - -

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." -Anais Nin

In the last few hours, we spent the rest of the time we had just hanging around with our friends. I already packed the night before so I made sure to spend those last few moments with our friends. We made one last run to Thayer Street to buy any things we needed or just wanted. One by one, friends started to leave until there was only a few of us left. Finally, it was time for us to leave and I was so sad to leave everything: my friends, the dorms, my roommate and even the weather (Although I kept complaining about the humidity, I have to say, I am going to miss warm nights in Providence). I looked back at the campus and said my final good-bye. For now. 

At the train station, leaving

We spent the night in Boston and had one final dinner together as the Ivy League Connections Brown Session II group. Ms. Stewart very generously treated us for dinner that night and I was so grateful. I looked around the table with all of our ILC members and although I was happy, inside I was sad that our time in the East Coast was almost up. Tomorrow morning, we would fly back to San Francisco. Back to home. So I made sure to make the most of our last night in Boston. I know I did, so I’m glad about that. 

Our room at the Hilton 

The view from the hotel window on the ninth floor

And so, I finish this blog with a spirit of joy. I am happy to have been in this program. I am happy to have learned so much. I happy to have met so many amazing people. 

I am happy.

Good-bye, East Coast!

1 comment:

  1. Lupe,

    There was never any sort of contest but had there been one, I’d be hanging a medal around your neck right now.

    Not only did you bless us with your prose but you threw in photos as well. A few photos would have been nice. Ten photos would have really been something but you threw in twenty photos! What a day this is for me.

    Almost without exception we’ve seen an incredible growth in each of you. The level of maturity has increased exponentially, your writing skills have vastly improved and your observation skills will be a real asset to you all.

    This is what it’s all about, Lupe. Most of our team members get it but you really soaked it in. I’m so proud of you, Lupe. I’m so proud of you all.