Friday, April 15, 2016

Final words, final thoughts, final sentiments

The April 7th event felt eerily similar to graduation, except I wasn’t walking across the stage to receive a diploma.  I wasn’t dressed in a cap and gown, but nevertheless I got that same overwhelming sense of sadness that comes with graduating.  Graduation means moving on to the next chapter.  Last week’s event was the last page in my WomenNC book...for now.  This adventure began in September, and I’m happy to say that not only did I survive, but I’m even more dedicated and passionate about women’s issues than ever before.  


The WomenNC fellow experience wasn’t always smooth sailing.  I remember how challenging it was for me to even narrow down my research topic.  It seemed like everyone else did with ease.  When addressing environmental issues, it was extremely important to me to address the intersections of women’s issues, environmental justice, and poverty.  Such issues seem so broad, yet so specific.  I was so lost and suddenly feeling the weight of my own pressure.  I’m a perfectionist, and at first research was everything but that.  Once I finally figured out my way, I had to find a partner organization. That was an experience that brought a new set of hurdles to overcome, but it’s safe to say, it was close to smooth sailing after that.


No experience is perfect, and I know that.  People are met with challenges to grow and this whole experience was a learning experience.  It revealed to me new perspectives and forced me to be honest with myself, while pushing me out of my comfort zone.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  As women, oppression is our reality, but it’s not our only reality.  I’m choosing to fight for justice for women because change is no longer imaginary.  It’s tangible! Real! Possible! I’m hopeful, and have become so even more since being apart of this fellowship program.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Beth and the committee for not only choosing me to be apart of this journey, but for allowing me room to grow and experience.  Thank you for your wisdom, guidance and unwavering support.  Thank you for your passion and all that you all do.  I’ve never felt so powerful, but it’s safe this is the first step to a lifelong career of women’s advocacy.  The thought of that makes me giddy.


Until we meet again!
Leah

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