Like many around Chapel Hill, I am struggling to believe that this year, and my time as an undergrad at Carolina, have drawn to a close. My senior year really began this past summer with my three month trip to the United Kingdom to learn about juvenile incarceration and rehabilitative arts immersion. The summer, made possible completely through the support of the Eve Carson Scholarship, was utterly amazing. Looking back on my last blog post from the end of the summer, I found that (for once?!) I was right about something! My scholarship summer really did set me up to feel stronger and more intentional in completing my senior year at Carolina.
For example: last summer, I learned a lot about being alone. I traveled alone for work job and job shadowings and on my days off I often ventured into London alone to go to museums or just wander the city. I met a lot of friends, that is for sure, but last summer was the first time I found myself truly valuing the ability to create a more individual space for myself. I carried that energy into my senior year and found myself more intentional about the time I spent alone and the time I spent with others –artistically, academically, and socially. Creating that space was absolutely key in working on my Senior Honors Thesis in poetry writing, I had to be able to find quiet time alone to generate a large amount of material. Dedicating alone time also changed how I engaged with academic work – I found myself more engrossed in my course work and in my independent research. It allowed me to find even more of a life in the things I read and thought about for class and beyond. Finally, I felt like my new philosophy around focusing my time actually allowed me to strengthen my professional relationships and friendships in my last year. I am so lucky to have met such incredible people and I know I will continue to be sustained by the communities I have built and grown into in my time at Carolina. This is just one example of the many ways I have been impacted and supported by the Eve Carson Scholarship through my senior year at Carolina and beyond.
This summer, I will be in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, mainly working on an autoethnographic poetry project that has been generously funded by the UNC Department of Creative Writing. I am beyond excited to be given the opportunity to focus my energy on writing and growing my portfolio. Besides writing, I will be working a couple of jobs and spending as much time outside as possible!
In late September I will be headed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I will continue doing youth work, hopefully focusing on at-risk younger adolescent populations. I am excited, and a bit scared, but ready for the next step.
With graduation just three days away, there is the uncontrollable impulse to look back on my time at Carolina. Mainly, I am struck by the number of people who have supported me in my pursuit of a higher education. In my last blog post I would like to thank all of the students, faculty, and staff who make the Eve Carson Scholarship possible – they are among the many important people in my life who have allowed me to access the privilege of a college education and for that, I am deeply grateful.