I made it through yesterday. What an emotionally draining day.
As I said, it was the final day in which all of the fellows and the three main staff members get together to present, reflect, and look ahead. We made group presentations on social issues, turned in papers and journals, filled out evaluations, and did a ton of other things. Four alumni of the program came back to tell us what they are doing now. Med school, teaching, international work... unbelievable stuff. These people only left college about three or four years ago and are all so accomplished already. It was inspiring (and intimidating, of course).
I got pretty depressed towards the end of the day when it kept hitting me that we won't all be together anymore (next summer the fellows scatter to the wind, most go abroad). I also felt badly after presenting my internship report. One of the things we had to talk about was what we are most proud of and what we wish we had handled better. I said that I wish I had handled the whole summer better in general because it was so tough this year. I know I did okay, but I wish I had done better. Then I got some voice mail messages on my cell phone from my mother with more family drama, and excused myself to the ladies' room to cry a little bit.
When I returned to the table, I saw that they were in the process of giving out the gifts. Each year, they choose a book that they feel is most appropriate for each fellow. It is such a sweet tradition. Last year, they gave me American Apartheid because of my interest in race relations and community development. As soon as I walked in, Program Coordinator picked up The Color Purple by Alice Walker and said, "This one is for a woman whose words are going to change the world," and she gave it to me.
When it was all over, everyone was hugging each other and saying goodbye. We will still hang out once in a while, but you know, it's not the same. Fellow #9 came up to me and said, "You're a filthy liberal beatnik, but I love you," and hugged me. He's nuts. He's way more liberal than I am.
On a lighter note, they gave a quiz on history/geography that was insanely difficult, and split us up into groups in order to take it. My group included Fellow #5 (English major), Fellow #8 (Communications), and myself (English). We guessed all the answers and joked that it was biased towards all the International Studies majors. In the end, after all the quizzes were graded, Associate Director announced, "The winner is the only group that has no one interning at an international organization..." We won Borders gift cards. We could not stop laughing.