Tomorrow is the last day of the Social Justice Research Academy and I am already acutely afflicted by nostalgia. These last three weeks have been more complex, special, and transformative than I can hope to express with vague adjectives in a blog post. I have changed in more ways than I could ever have expected. Looking back, I can hardly recognize the person I was before this trip. The last four weeks seem like an unbreachable gulf and yet they also passed in the blink of an eye. I think back and it is as if it was surely just yesterday that I was getting on the airplane at San Francisco. Then I try to imagine the person I was before the program and suddenly that was eons ago.
In case you are wondering, intrepid readers, I did not wake up this morning feeling this maudlin. (It only started around lunch time.) Maayan and I woke up bright and early to attend an optional breakfast and discussion of Hegel. (Which the group termed Hegel-over-Bagels. Because funny.) Andy is an unsurpassable teacher and when he is talking about Hegel he is in his element. It was awesome.
After breakfast and Hegel, we had class in the McNeil Building for the second to last time ever.
The penultimate day of anything important is usually more emotionally charged for me than the last day, when everything is surreal and weird. Today, the preemptive-missing-of-things didn't start until midday. Today's schedule consisted entirely of student presentations about social justice, in accordance with one of the principles of the SJRA; that education is not a one-way transfer of information from teacher to student, but an exchange between individuals, each with unique experiences to share.
Since I had opted to give a presentation on Roma rights, I was extremely nervous until my turn to speak arrived. Fortunately, I did not faint, though I thought I might. I'm really glad I did give my presentation, though I wish I had been able to portray the Roma more complexly than "okay-guys-here-is-a-really-oppressed-group-of-people-you've-never-heard-of-before." Still, the presentation was a success, and not just because I didn't faint.
|Me and my beloved books.|
Every single presentation today was incredible. I'm not kidding. Every single one. It was such a privilege to hear my peers open up about causes that are important to them and their personal struggles. Sitting in class listening to my fellow students talk about the things they are most passionate about filled me with so much hope. As someone in class said, "We are not the leaders of the future, we are the leaders of today."
I know I fell head-first into corniness in this blog. But I'm not sorry. I mean every word.