As my old friend would constantly quote from Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!” And oh, how true that is…
Dr. Daly wasn’t kidding when he told us we would probably have a hard time coming back. I know a semester doesn’t seem like an unusually long period of time, but in those four months I became exceptionally close to the other Archer Fellows (particularly the 11 I lived in the same townhouse with), grew accustomed to working more than 40 hours a week, attending class until 9 p.m. every other evening, and taking full advantage of most networking opportunities that would come my way.
For weeks I went without having a car, relying entirely on walking and public transportation. I practically lived and breathed politics/current events, first from living on Capitol Hill, and second from working in the various ABC newsrooms. Invigorating is the only way I can possibly describe it.
The Archer Fellowship gave me my first authentic taste of independence and adulthood. Sure, I was somewhat “independent” in Austin, but really–that experience does not even compare. My dad was just a phone call away, and there was usually someone in short distance who could help me with whatever I needed. For the first time, I worked a full-time job and was entirely in charge of looking after myself. No old friends, no relatives, no comfort zone close by.
As for the other Archer Fellows, what an amazing group of people…and I’m not just saying that because this is a public blog. Everyone in the fellowship added a different dynamic to the experience, and Anneliese hit the nail with the hammer when she said it wouldn’t have been the same if any one of us had been switched out with someone else. I could not have possibly been more impressed with these wonderful people.
But alas, all good things eventually come to an end. The new class of Archer Fellows has taken our place, and they are currently creating memories, like we did, that will last a lifetime. I don’t care if that sounds corny. It’s the truth!
I’ll never forget the day I left the Archer house. I woke up at 4 a.m., quietly grabbed my bags and waited outside my door for the Super Shuttle to pick me up. At 7 a.m., my flight took off. My heart sank as I watched the Washington Monument and the Pentagon distance farther and farther away from the window by my seat.
A few hours later, I landed in Houston, only to discover my flight to Corpus Christi had been canceled and I wouldn’t be able to come home until the following day. I opted to go to Austin instead–a good move. I went to Trail of Lights (see my videos) later that evening, and reacquainted myself with the lovely UT campus I had gone nearly seven months without.
All in all, I’m happy to be back. Now let’s see where the semester takes me…