Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 20: A Chapter Concludes

Well, as I have dreaded since the beginning of this week, it is over. After three weeks of pure enlightenment and profound self-reflection, the end has finally arrived. No matter how much I may beg and wish that I were living in an illusion and that somehow time had not passed as rapid as it did , I know that I strongly lack the ability to do so. That regardless of how much I may want to stay, I know that I must go. However, the greatest emotional pain comes not from abandoning the life style with which I have grown so enamoured over the course of the last 3 weeks, but rather because of the individuals I have had the greatest pleasure of meeting and befriending. Without them, my experience at Penn would have been very different and each one has educated me in a multitude of different ways, which not only have provided me with different outlooks on the reality in which I live in, but also have caused me to mature as a person. 

Saying goodbye to two of my favorite RCs, Kelly and Jessica
Reflecting upon the influence others had on me while at the program; perhaps the greatest example is epitomized in the unity established between my RC group. To express how united we were, we escorted and assisted each one of of us out of the dormitories and to their pre-determined method of transportation. This process began bright and early at 4:00 AM and continued up until only one was left, at which point none of us could assist him. It is remarkable to think how much we have grouped together and how we have supported one another through every step of the way. My RC group in large part contributed to my overall happiness of the program, because I knew that even on my most stressful days, I had each of their support to lift me up. I will miss all of them dearly, but thankfully social media will allow all of us to stay connected so we can continue that sensation of unity and support. 

After taking my last few glimpses of the Quad as the cohort drove away I could not feel profoundly sad inside. For three weeks it had been my home away from home. It had been a hub for socialization as well as safe haven. To see it disappear into the background was greatly impacting, but I knew that soon I would be back in my true home.

For lunch/dinner, we grabbed a bite at Chickie's and Pete's. Being that it was my last day in Philadelphia, I decided to pay homage to the Philadelphian cuisine by ordering one final cheesesteak sandwich. It was great to eat as a cohort once more. It brought back many memories of when we first began our adventure almost a month ago. After eating, and being that we had plenty of time before our departure flight, we decided to play a game known as Munchkin Cthulhu, one of the items we had bought John for his birthday. It was fun playing as a cohort and having a time to just relax after three weeks of intensity. After someone had taken victory we headed over to our gate where we patiently awaited the boarding time. 

The plane ride, like many, was long, however, it did provide me a long time for reflection not just on the program, but also how I have changed as a person of the past three weeks. I began seeing a new person within me. An individual who no longer wanted to conform to being shy, but wanted to be extroverted. An individual who saw the world for how it truly was and wanted to speak out against it. An individual who not only had been given the tools to make changed, but also was confident in his ability to do so. 

Upon arriving back in San Francisco, I was bombarded with countless emotions. On one hand, I was happy to be home and to be in my natural climate (cold and not humid). However, the other part of me missed everything about Philadelphia, even the small nuisances such as the humidity. As I adjust back to being at home, I know that my experiences at Penn will always be with me. 

Final group photo of the trip! Back where it all began!

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