What am I bringing home? Information and inner formation. (Thank you Jayesh Patel)

I’m bringing homes the pieces of the person I will become. I bring excitement, nervousness, sadness, inspiration, and knowledge. I’m bringing home a new mindset and new ideas.

All year, I have been questioning my identity. My passions were waning and I was no longer interested in the things I grew up with and loved. I was confused (and still am) and I was unhappy with that confusion. I looked around me and saw students exceeding more than the years before and exploring their passions and beliefs and I started to compare myself to them, something so many of us do that it’s almost normal, expected even. I saw my failures and my confusion and thought that I would never know what I wanted to do. Even thinking about how confused and upset I was brings tears to my eyes. I knew that I was learning differently than the students around me and I knew that my priorities weren’t the same.

I was learning about myself.

I was learning about the people around me.

I was learning about a different world, different cultures, different languages, and different lives. But school doesn’t test on these lessons; teachers and students don’t prioritize each other over the pressure and the work. We don’t prioritize the life connections or awareness.  And in this race, I…

…I was losing.

But this trip has brought me hope. It’s the smiles, the beautiful, genuine, toothy, chestshire cat grins from children. It’s the colors: the blues, the whites, the grays, the moldy green, the brown. It’s Ghandi: his faces on tunnel walls, the spirit of giving, love, and truth that he inspires in people even in death. It’s my peers with their eagerness to learn, share, and understand the things and ideas around them. It’s Mr. Mundra and Ms. Tous who have guided us through this journey safely and smoothly while simultaneously changing at least my own life, radically.

What am I bringing home? What have I learned? What has impacted me the most? People. I’m bringing home the connections the memory, and the knowledge that my well-being is intimately connected with yours (Thank  you Dr. Moore). I’m bringing home hope. Because the heart knows today what the mind knows not and my heart knows that I have so much more to learn and that learning cannot continue if I let the pressure crush me.