College never ends.

The last weeks of my fellowship at Cristo Rey High School have arrived and it feels strangely reminiscent of my days as a student entering finals week. The circumstances are similar: a 10-week project culminating as a final presentation and report, an approaching deadline that re-energizes my work ethic, and nerves steadily increasing  that I know will only subside after the final day arrives.

This week is spent going through all of my research and data, comparing my notes to my final draft and editing like crazyyyyy. Is everything correct? Did I cite this source properly? Was that the exact word used during the interview? Fact checking was important in undergrad–absolutely–but when a formal document is presented to an organization with the title of “recommendations,” I feel even more pressure to get everything exactly right.

I’ve also been surprised at the amount of follow-ups I’m doing this week. I thought I was finished with my interviews and data collections, but as I review I am finding the most interesting nuggets of information that I missed the first time around. They are resurfacing with brand new meaning after more context has been created throughout the weeks.This has probably been my favorite part– not only does it give me the opportunity to reconnect with those I interviewed weeks ago, but it allows me the chance to show them that I’ve used their input and done some critical thinking and analysis to truly and accurately use their information. It’s another chance for engagement within the network and let them know that I appreciate their help. Further, it reminds them of the project and  occasionally leads to new insights that they missed during the first call. It’s fascinating to see my work as a living document, constantly changing with new opinions and information. I believe it truly reflects the personality of the Cristo Rey Network and also the diversity of the schools–not only does each school bring an new tone and perspective, but they prioritize certain responsibilities within their development departments and it’s reflected in the advice they provide for new development directors.

So, wish me luck on my Finals Week 2.0: Real World Edition. I’m excited! and nervous. But as it goes with each end of a semester, it all ends up well so long as you put forth the proper time, your best work and your best effort. However, this time around I am putting forth immense care and investment in a project to serve a cause bigger than an “A” in statistics. I am helping CRCHS approach this year with a plan to celebrate & serve Columbus youth to the best of their ability. And that is a research project I can very well be proud of.

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