I can’t believe it’s come to an end. 10 weeks felt like 4 weeks. My feeling right now is a mixture of anxiety that I may not finish my project and of pride to have done something meaningful in life. The irony is that the more I approach the end, the better I understand what I should do, and the more I see ways to get things done faster. Now, each hour of my time here is more expensive, and I try my best to make it worthy. I wish I had the same feeling from the first week of the internship, that moment when I looked at my calendar and thought I had immense time to explore everything. Nonetheless, I am very happy to have been at Aravind and in India.
During the last week, my focus has been on making more progress on my project. I met with my supervisors, talked to patients, and built on the feedback I keep receiving. An important aspect of growth I learned from Aravind is the importance of feedback. I believe this is one of the things that keeps the institution moving forward. Every week, they have regular meetings where different staff members present about ongoing projects, in presence of directors. The whole purpose of these meetings is to ensure everything is on the right track and keep everyone updated on what’s happening. During this week, I also presented about my experience. My presentation included my achievements, my failures or challenges, and the lessons I learned (more on this in my next post). Anyway, it was nice to hear the “good luck” wish from the executive director of LAICO (Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology) and “thank you” from staff members at the end of the presentation. Now, I am clarifying my last input into the project before I hand it over to Aravind, and I hope my introductory work will be a good basis for future improvements on patient education.
In addition, I did what most people do a few days before a flight: laundry, packing, saying thank you to those I lived and/or worked with, etc. This is the time when you realize the importance of everything and what everyone meant to you. My roommate and I are planning dinners and semi-parties, just to make our last days at Aravind and in India more memorable and maybe longer. But the countdown timer is still on. Our flight on this coming Saturday is quickly approaching. There is nothing we can do at this point to stop it. We just need to get ourselves ready to go back to our old lives. At least, it’s been quite an experience that marked our lives. Over the next few weeks after I leave India, I will meditate on my entire summer experience, comparing my expectations before the internship and what I found. Did I get all I wanted? Is there anything I missed? Is there anything I would do differently if I were to go back in time? What will my first summer in college contribute to my future career? My educated guess tells me that my next blog’s title might be “I learned more than I gave back,” or something similar. And I do believe learning was my priority in any case.
A few pictures from our last days at Aravind and in Madurai.