See You Later Alligator

Avatar Student - Political Science
Maria Jimena Jurado Giraldo
Member since May 21, 2016
  • 11 Posts
  • Age 20

Throughout the last three months of my life, the only constant has been my Voices of Youth internship. In the midst of meeting new people, adapting to a new life in university and getting used to a routine after the nomadic life I lived last year, everything has fallen out of place. There was a certain level of uncertainty that I expected to feel after changing lives, however, never did I think that this would also bring anxiety, fear and discomfort to such an extent. I’m not going to lie, I have gone to bed with tears in my eyes wondering if being 9,073 km away from home is truly where I want to be; just to remember that I chose this place because in my eyes it was much closer than the 15,946 km that separated Cali from Pune. And it is, but I often wonder if for my mom’s heart that is enough.

The Voices of Youth internship has given me exactly this: the opportunity to express my emotions without feeling the need to cover them up with some happy/good/amazing story of how well I am doing and how much I am in love with The Netherlands. I feel blessed to have this opportunity but it has also brought a lot of difficulties that I feel confident enough to share now, something that before I might have been too skeptical about, because after all, everyone wants to have a “perfect” life and if you don’t have it, then you pretend you do.

It has also given me the chance to keep myself accountable. As weird as it sounds, putting your thoughts on paper has a much stronger impact (and this is on yourself) than just having those thoughts roam around your head. The number of times that I am in the middle of a conversation and hear something I disagree with, has been, I believe, a challenge that destiny is putting in my way to see how well I am working on handling these situations. It immediately takes me to my blog-post about intolerance in liberalism and how my attitudes towards different opinions is exactly what I preach against. Similarly, my everyday life has been floated with criticisms towards the garment industry, the lack of empathy for refugees, the educational system, etc. This, I never thought, was going to be an effect that the VOY internship was going to have on me, but it has made the voice in the back of my head a louder one than before.

This internship has shown me that there is a beautiful community of human beings out there that, even though they don’t know me, they are still out there to support me and give me courage when I am lacking it. There is a community of people who are eager to read what I have to say in the same way I want to know what’s going on in their minds. VOY has been a beautiful experience full of joyful moments that followed discussions and inquiries as well moments full of doubt, mainly in myself, that were soon comforted by the VOY community or by the amazing mentors that have been here with us all throughout this journey.

I don’t think this will be the last post you see from me. This place is way too amazing to just give it up completely. I am going to miss the pressure of having to come up with something every week but I am pretty sure that even if it isn’t that often, I have grown into this habit too much to just drop it. My best wishes go for the generation of VOY interns that is about to come. My biggest kudos to my fellow interns that made this experience unique with all the questions, conversations and discussions. Last but not least, gratitude and nothing else to my mentors Kate and Mischa. The love for what you do is something that can’t be improvised and it is something that is so obvious, even through a computer screen. Mischa thank you for all the effort to unite us as a team and get to know each other better. Kate, thank you for pushing me. I have to admit, at times I didn’t know if what I was writing was even worthy but you managed to have a word or two that would somehow fill me with confidence and enthusiasm to show the world what I am about.





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