Not exactly: This “E-portfolio," as many might identify it, has played a far more substantial role in my personal fulfillment for the past two years than you’d dare to bet.
I’m not kidding. For three weeks now, I’ve been #indenial of writing this piece. Like anything that comes to an end, I’ve pushed this one to the last minute. I’ve been evading the 1 out of 1 possibility (or ok, call it reality) that everything that starts has to have closure. It turns out that dealing with closure has become inexplicably complicated.
But the reason is fairly simple. As part of the first cohort to ever graduate the IA, I have a story behind me that is often misconceived. A story so abstractly close to my heart, that I’m baffled every time I’m asked to put it into few words.
Basically it comes down to knowing there’s only so much a blog post can reveal. I also know that whatever I say, write or do—and let’s not trick ourselves here—the response from the audience will not likely be anything close to a nod. Instead, my experience (all that made it so special) will be challenged. Personally, I think that’s what makes it fun.
So I might as well start with a funny story of new beginnings. And relax, I won’t go into detail as to why I chose the program in the first place. I’d much rather jump ahead to what I’ve found to be the soul of the IA: the people--where all that started. It begins on a day that feels like forever ago, the first time we met as an academy.
So hello, again! This was me the morning of June 9th 2013. That’s exactly 2 years ago. To give you some context, prom was the night before, and our first retreat was scheduled that Sunday at 8 am. The team-building activities consisted of running a race around the pentagonito, cycling through Barranco, and visiting an art museum. Yes, “my teacher was crazy." And you can tell from my face, I wasn’t very engaged either.
We can all richly remember control-freak Corey, visually irritated because we were not being productive with our time in the bus. IN THE BUS!!
When all we could think about was the night before, there was suddenly this new figure commanding collaborative discussion within the 10-minute bus breaks across activities.
Then again, there was me, who, despite my decision to be part of this group, was mentally isolated from finding no purpose in this forced sense of being part of one. I was fixated on how tired I was, and in what only made sense under my definition of recreation: social life. I saw a clear division between who I was outside of school and academics, so that day, I wasn’t present. I gave myself the dose of that accepted selfish loneliness--conveniently called independence--any highschooler deserves after a party.
So I sat at the back, right? No intention of conversing with anyone beside my friends Babi and Gonchi. Oh, and I also took a nap.
Of course today I look back and get the importance behind certain things. I get Corey’s frustration at my deliberate lack of interest and order. I get his desire to have a strong culture from day one. And most importantly I get that there was pressure to try as hard as we could--whatever that meant by then--because the program was uncertain.
There were things we didn’t get, though.
#1) Education. We all had different ideas of what a real education was, assuming that we had even considered it. My idea of education was that I had no idea. Corey’s idea of education was based on efficiency: How much could we push our work ethic to produce in as little time as possible?
Nowadays, it’s just another thing we joke about. Que tan perdidos estabamos!?
What I also did not foresee, was that the 12 people around me that day in the bus--plus Caro F--would have the greatest input on helping me find myself as a student and person later on.
The 13 protagonists in the pictures above taught me more than they’re possibly aware of. Starting from Pedro’s extraordinary ability to not restrain from that unnecessarily-techy, presumptuous comment that we’d never admit had a bit of truth--to Gise’s integrity and humbling talent to stay true to anything she sets her mind to doing, especially when it’s for others--to Babi, the only friend originally from my group that has been my outlier-partner through this transition, and has taught me to believe in myself just because she does too.
13, who I've had the pleasure to work and, by pure chance, (forgive me for this one) #bleeeeended with as we continue to figure what it means to be educated. Today there’s not one of us who’ll tell you they didn’t enjoy it.
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”
I think that’s what ultimately scares us, the humanity behind self-discovery, feedback, and real connection. It’s the hardest thing to build and maintain--and possibly to let go of. I used to believe school is school and life, is, well, life...
I’d like to think I know better by now.