I have no idea what to title this post. It’s not the last, it’s not goodbye, it’s not an ending. None of what we’ve learned, done, or created this year will ever really be over, so no final reflection will say everything I want it to say. I think that right there is sustainability.
First, our event. Someone (Brenna, probably) aptly described the set-up process being like Extreme Makeover: Educhica edition. We were scrambling to get the last posters up as our first participants walked through the door, but luckily they were friends willing to put their tape-rolling skills to use! After that, we had a full house (bowl?) of people coming through. It was a mixed crowd of students of differing years, roommates, professors, and administrators (up to number 2 in command). Some weren’t able to stay for the dialogue, some (like Sharon Hay, surprise!) dropped in just for a while for the dialogue, and others stayed on after the “official” dialogue for even more dialogue. The stories told on the posters and in the photos served as the discussion points for reconceptualizing learning and then we were able to introduce the idea of a democratic space. Administrators and non-seniors were really excited about the idea. Really good questions and answers came from all sides as we tried to imagine what this space would look like. Because of that dialogue, there is still work to be done on all sides–they want ideas for where this space might be, what it would look like, and they want to show our posters to others in administration. The fact that this didn’t end with our event I think is a sign of success, even though we’ve learned to be so selective in using that word. Now, it’s up to us (not just the Educhicas, but who were a part of the conversation) to move forward with this.
Grace already posted the beautiful picture of us. The happiness and harmony between us in it is completely indicative of our group this year. We are a motley crew, but Grace got it right when she said “none of this would’ve been possible if we did individual theses.” Not just the work we did, but also everything that we learned through the relationships with each other, would not have been possible. The passion we each brought to this project brought our five different personalities together. Each meeting, we learned something new and brilliant about someone’s abroad experience, laughed away our stress, and were patient with ourselves through the confusion. Through the trust and spontaneity, the Educhicas were born. Ladies, you have taught me so much about bravery in tough situations (EFA), patience in unclear ones (the endless task of defining ourselves and our lens), relaxing and finding humor in everything (every meeting), and going on loving what we’re learning. You were inspiration, support, smiling faces, solidarity, and working hands, hearts, and minds all year.
So, like I said, this isn’t a goodbye or ending post, it’s more of a “thanks” and reflection post at this time when the nature of our relationship will be changing, but the relationship itself and the changes it has brought on will remain forever. (and you thought you were sappy, Grace)