You Got This <3

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

|Author: Cameron|

Boarding my flight for India, one of my greatest concerns, maybe even fears, was all of you.

Yeah, I am embarrassingly talking about all of you sitting in front of me right now.

Touching down in Bangalore I remember butterflies in my stomach as I tried not to worry that I didn’t know more than a handful of names, and didn’t want to think about facing interactions with the people who, from fall quarter, I’d rashly determined most intimidated me.

The sheer thought of trying to befriend 26 people at once was overwhelming. Just to paint a picture, I am a sit-at-the-back-of-the-lecture-hall, try-to-go-unnoticed kind of person; I think I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve befriended someone in a class beyond general chit chat.

It makes my hands sweat to ask questions. I still run away from saying 'hi' to high school people on campus, and if I had to come up with a title for my autobiography, it would be “Overthinking awkward interactions that I am still physically cringing at”.

This maybe paints a grimmer picture of my interactions with people than it should but I genuinely feared that there would be an expiration date on being able to befriend or get closer to each other and that I would be left behind in the dust. This also meant that the first few weeks, I felt a lot of guilt for the times when I needed to disengage, to find some peace and alone time, worried that I was missing out on creating memories and connection with you all.

Obviously, retrospectively, my fears upon arriving were quelled quickly. However, although I was able to relate to comments in blogs about feeling comfortable sitting down for dinner at any table, and I was thankful for any opportunities I’ve had for one on one conversations, I found it much harder to relate to those of you who even in the first three weeks began to call us a GCIL family.

So, although I slightly cringe at the words, I think I might finally be there.

This trip has made me think a lot about relationships in general, how they often ebb and flow over time, and the differences between shared experiences and closeness. I think that, in general, it is often harder for me to acknowledge and express the latter of those, the flow and the close.

But we have shared so much, in a way that is so much more than just experience. For me this exists in the vulnerabilities we share as we have self-reflective conversations when we question our impact or what we are doing here; it is in the lectures that excite us to do more research or in the zeal that is brought to sociopolitical conversations and debates; it is in our learning how to listen and ask questions, and in the things we have learned that we had no idea we would; it is in our growth of resilience from being in a new environment, with new people; it is in working in a ten-week group project together, the long hours, and collective fried brain; and it is in how hard we are battling to figure out our place in the world, who we are, and what we want to do with our futures, and in sharing without receiving judgment.

I know that for most of us, yesterday was (at the least) pretty disheartening, and for many, a rather soul crushing day, but I have some thoughts. I want you to know that each and every one of you inspire me every single day. You have all worked endlessly hard to create and grow something that you are proud of and you are each so intensely passionate about the grand challenges you are working on. It feels like too much to list here, but I could speak to each of you about how, both individually and collectively, you are incredible human beings and some of the smartest, most thoughtful, and most motivated people I know (if any of you are in need of any sort of compliment confidence boost these coming weeks, please let me know).

I myself am feeling pretty daunted by these next three weeks we have ahead of us, but I am so impressed by everything that has been accomplished so far, and I know from the bottom of my heart that we got this. We are going to absolutely crush it. I could not be more excited to see how we will all rise to the challenge, fighting tooth and nail to create a positive impact and we will each do so in our own unique, impassioned way.

I love you all, and I could not be prouder to be a part of this GCIL crew. <3

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