On Monday I travelled down to waterloo for our last class together. It was fun, it was inspirational, the food was great (as always) and it was so nice to see everyone. A few familiar faces were missing but hopefully I will them soon! I have to admit that it does feel a little strange to have almost everyone else heading off to their various placements and me just going back to school in May. We had such a motivational wind-up to the program sending us out into the world and I can’t help but feel like things for me are a little anti-climactic. I’m so excited for everyone going and we got so pumped in class, and it really made want to go, but I have to wait 5 MONTHS still. So Joanne, just so you know, I may need another motivational pep talk in August! :D This week I also finished my volunteer hours at the supper club. It’s nice to have something to hand in to Joanne, but it’s not like I won’t be back again next week, so getting Val to sign off on the hours seemed strange too, like somehow signing the sheet made it the end, even though I’ll see everyone next Thursday. So while I couldn’t quite relate to the excitement of leaving in a few short weeks, I didn’t have to get my shots yet, or pick my departure date, and I ‘m not really wrapping up my volunteering, there was one topic we discussed that really hit home for me.
Near the beginning of the class Joanne asked us all to think about who we were when we came into the program and who we are now. This is a topic that I have tried to broach a couple of times in my blogs, as recently as last Sunday, but haven’t always found quite how to say what I was trying to get out. After talking as a group I feel like I have figured out how to articulate a little better at the time but we moved on to others topics and I didn’t get out everything I wanted to say, and truthfully I wanted more time to mull things over. So here it is, I want to use this blog to reflect a little more on my progression in summing up the term.
Who was I in my interview? Who was I when I was asking them to pick ME? I think that I was pretty naïve. I knew that I really wanted a chance to give back. I knew that there were millions and millions of people suffering everyday and if it was within my power to do something to help someone else, then I needed to do it. I knew that I wanted to challenge my perspectives on the world. I knew that I was a little too comfy and that it was making me itch to do something new. And I was so enthusiastic to get out there and to good in the world. I knew all of that but I was still pretty green. I had a basic knowledge of global issues but had never really studied global crisis before or gone to lectures about bottom up solutions to poverty, or really challenged my views of the world before, I simply hadn’t had exposure to this kind of thing before. I just lived my life, volunteered where I could, avoided conflict and just tried to be a good person.
And now? One thing that a lot of people said in class was that they feel like they know less now than they did when they started, or at least that they are less sure about things that they thought they knew or believed at the beginning of class. I can certainly relate to that feeling. This program has exposed me to all kinds of new ideas and I now know that there is so much that I still have no idea about. However, overall I don’t feel like I know less. I feel so much more aware and educated about the world and our impact in it. Now don’t everyone worry, I absolutely know I don’t have ANY of the answers, but I just feel so much more secure in what I want to do with myself . I knew so little coming in and I was so nervous in sharing my previously uneducated opinions and now I don’t. Now I can talk to people about big global issues that I might have avoided before and actually know what I’m talking about. I knew before that I wanted to give back, and advocate for people who could do it for themselves and now I know how I can do that as part of my everyday life; I am empowered.
And I think that even though there is an endless list of things that I know that I still don’t know, I know for sure that Beyond Borders mostly about the personal journey, is not just about this one placement, or about school courses, it’s about discovering who you are, what is really important to you and what your place in the world is. Student, human rights advocate, crusader for change, engineer for sustainable resources, environmental advocate, it really doesn’t matter what, just that each of us have found our way to make our lives make an impact.