May 23, 2013
In December, just over a month before I would be going to Ghana, I found out about a scholarship, the Boren Scholarship, which would enable me to spend an extra semester in Ghana, teach me Twi at the University of Florida in the summer, and then set me up with a job in DC after college. It sounded like a dream; it was a dream, so naturally I decided to apply for it.
The application process was tedious and had to mostly be done while I was in Ghana. Attempting to do anything back home while in Ghana that requires extensive internet and e-mail attachments is a joke. There is so often no internet, no power, and no place to connect yourself to America that attempting to fill this application out was a nightmare. But I got it done with MAJOR help from my friends, family, and my mentor, Scott London, just in the nick of time.
The application was due in February. The results wouldn’t come out until May. And so here I was, waiting for something I thought I wanted more than anything I’ve ever wanted before, blind to fact that the next few months would be the best, worst, most exciting, challenging, and exhausting months I have ever dealt with alone.
Basically, what this is leading to a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Boren. I got the scholarship! In hindsight it was really great news. But the first thing that happened is I walked to my friends Jordan and Rachel’s, room, looked at Jordan with deep, conflicted eyes, and started crying.
“I’m so proud of myself, but the thought of being gone all summer and coming back here next semester kills me” I told her. And that’s the truth. Although this experience has been wonderful and I have learned more than I will ever know for the next 5 years, my patience and my will are rapidly falling apart. I’m constantly tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, and hungry. Also, I came here for school but I have never hated school more than I did this semester. The lack of organization and intellectual stimulation this university offers is astounding. I really dislike the school. There are so many reasons I didn’t take the Boren Scholarship, and I know that I could have learned a ton more from another semester, but I need to reflect on this semester and I need to do what I think is best for me in this state and moment.
And what I need right now is familiarity. Comfort. Home. There are so many things that I miss, need, which I don’t get here. I don’t want to use this space as a place for me to complain about all the things I feel like I’m lacking, but I must admit, not being hugged for over 4 months is probably the hardest. And this lack of human touch is extremely isolating. I can’t wait to cuddle in my mom’s big, strong arms for days on end this summer.
And those are reasons why I won’t take the Boren. I talked to a lot of people about this decision, people I trust and respect, and almost everyone agreed that I needed to think about myself before my career. And I agree, I’m so honored to have received such an award, but if I can do that, I can do something else just as good. And to be honest, the Boren sets me on a path I’m not ready to commit to. Being in Ghana has matured me in a way that has taught me that I am much more of a kid than I ever knew and that I have time to find out what I do want to do… something that never seemed to change until I came here.
So I will be back home all summer and at I will not leave Randolph-Macon until I graduate. With this, for any who are interested, my plans for the summer are as followed:
May 27th: I will arrive in Chicago around midnight
May 31st– June 5th: I will be visiting friends in Ann Arbor
June 5th: I will be leaving with my family to participate in the One Million Bones art instillation in Washington, D.C. from June 6th– 12th. We are always looking for more volunteers, so if you’re interested visit onemillionbones.org or contact me.
June 12th: Back to Chicago to work, live, eat and love with my family
August… teens: BACK TO RANDY MAC!!!!
Since my final decline of the Boren, I have been busy with finals. I have taken 5 and have only 1 left the day before I leave! May 14th was insane, and by the end of the three finals I thought my fingers were going to fall off. But I made it through. Just like I’ll make it through my last days.
My finals schedule:
May 8th: Modern Western Political Thought
May 14th: Civil Society in Ghana, Twi, Geography of Gender and Development in Ghana
May 22nd: Africa and the Global System
May 25th: Acting
My plan for the next few days is to do some last minute shopping, spend a day at the fancy hotel pool in the city, and pack probably 3 more times (I’ve already packed 4 times… it’s all about efficiency). Besides that, I plan on watching lots of movies, sleeping, and just getting home.
I’m sorry I’ve been so inconsistent with blog posts. I will continue to write about past experiences in Ghana even after I leave on Sunday. In addition, I plan to write about my reflection of this experience throughout the summer. I believe that there is a lot more to learn in hindsight of the entire experience. So look out for more!
Until next time,