After staying up all of last night, I was too tired this morning to realize the significance of actually going home. That all changed when I got to class, and I realized that this would be my last time in that room, my last time learning from Kisa, Laura, and Tiffany, and my last time being greeted, being inspired being amazed, and simply being with this amazing group of girls. I realized how truly special this experience has been and I couldn’t get myself to believe that it was over.
Well, this was partially because it wasn’t quite over. Even after our final activities, exchanging contact info, and saying our “goodbyes”, we still had to present our action plans.
Personally, I was terrified to present my action plan. Being new to public speaking, I wasn’t sure what type of speech preparation was best for me. I was also feeling less confident about my action plan the more that I tried to prepare. When I saw the other kids in my presenting group (who weren’t in my class) present their projects confidently, eloquently, and without notes, I felt extremely intimidated. It was even more intimidating when the boy before me had a project concerning the same issue, but with more statistics and more confidence in his presentation.
I then realized that even though these kids seemed to be more prepared and had done more public speaking than I had, their action plan ideas weren’t necessarily better. I also realized that many of them seemed too confident, making it seem like they weren’t prepared for dealing with the inevitable obstacles that were to come. I had nothing to lose if I just acted like myself and was modest, sincere, and presented my plan in a more conversational style that was natural to me. I think it generally went over pretty well, and I now feel more confident in myself and in my action plan.
Then came the hardest part –saying goodbye to all the girls. Tears were in everybody’s eyes, and when Ms. Williams finally convinced us to board the shuttle, they helped us carry all of our bags and were wishing us a safe flight, much like parents sending their daughter off to college. And as they cried and waved as we left, we cried and waved back.