It’s finally over. I am now a UWC graduate, an LPC Alumna. Yesterday evening I walked onto stage, shook hands with Arnett and received my long-awaited United World College Diploma. Two years, brought to an end within a few seconds of which I don’t even seem to remember too much anymore. I remember walking down the steps between the seats in the assembly hall, in my world-map dress and the only shoes that I hadn’t packed yet, my heart beating at a surely inhuman pace. I also remember me thanking Arnett, and him replying “no, thank you, thank you for all you’ve done for us here”; I remember blowing my parents a kiss through the live stream camera and then walking off, past my co-years who stared and smiled at me, backstage, where I nearly slipped and had to stand still for a moment to realize what just had happened.The applause, the camera man, the handshake with the board member – none of that was present in my memories of the moment; my mind was merely filled with excitement, relief and ultimate happiness. I did it. I graduated in Hong Kong, from Li Po Chun United World College.
The last few days were full of events, and I still constantly slide from one into the next. The days and atmosphere around one’s own graduation are not easily described, but I will nonetheless try my best to bring you the spirit of my LPC graduation a littler nearer, step by step, blog entry by blog entry. It all started on Wednesday, after Michi and I had finally, too, completed our IB exams with German. The same evening, we had Head of House drinks; a lovely get-together with the whole Block. Block 3 gathered in Hayley’s flat for some drinks and snacks and Hayley gave us a small speech – no actually she told us a story, how she usually does, about finding the right place in life and channeling all one’s energy but into good things. “Don’t try to catch birds when you’re a fisherman”, she reminded us, “know your place”; meaning that we all have a destiny, a mission, something in life to accomplish – and that we shouldn’t distract ourselves with things we are simply not made for, but rather really accomplish brilliant things in our actual areas of talent, passion and knowledge.
Hayley apologized for the less expensive and luxurious block activities this year, but I didn’t think she had to apologize for that! I found it wonderful to have so many outdoor activities and I believe that one can still have great bonding time without spending too much many – these block activities really prove that. The ones I remember most vividly are the ones about Krav Maga, the Dragonback hike and also the one in the dark-room, in which we could experience total blindness. Every single block activity we went to brought me closer together with my co-years and first-years in the block, and especially in the beginning of the year, the activities and evenings organized by Hayley really helped shaping us as a block family. With every new Wednesday afternoon spent with the block I learned something new; and I greatly appreciate that I could widen my horizon and insight to the world and Hong Kong a little more with every activity.
When Hayley finished her speech, she started crying. She was clearly as moved as us by the moment; having everybody together at the same time, knowing that soon we would have to part. Many of us went up to hug her and we went around and hugged and thanked our block’s tutors for all their love and support throughout the last two years. While the mood was suffering a little under the shadow of tears and sadness, there was also an indescribable beauty to it and I realized once again, how much this block means to me. It is, indeed, how originally intended, another family for me; a family far from home.
Since we had lots of block budget left, Hayley had decided to use such to give each of us a gift and donate to charity at the same time. She therefore bought each of us a bracelet from The Shine Centre, a program in South Africa that enables underprivileged women to earn a little money by creating bracelets and earrings to sell. The proceeds of the sales go to the women’s’ earnings and further education as well as enterprise development opportunities in the country. The program is supported by Relate, a “non-profit social enterprise that created opportunities to change lives.” Each bracelet is made of either multi- or single colored beads, as well as one that has an engraved R, for Relate, and one with an engraved shine. The small piece of cardboard attached to the bracelet read: “By wearing this bracelet you are joining the circle of commitment to empower children, through the gift of reading, to shape their own future.” I really liked Hayley’s idea of this special gift to us; it showed me that our community really embodies the UWC values till the very end, dedicating the little we have to those who are more in need of it than us.
This last gathering with the block meant a lot to me. It was the last time I got together with my block as such, and all the people who have accompanied my time at LPC from the very start. It was wonderful to have my tutor, some of my favorite teachers, my buddy, roomies and some of my best friends all in one spot together, cherishing the moments spent together during the last two years. I can surely say that I am proud to have been part of this inspiring Block and I would, now more than ever and like any other student on campus, always defend mine as the best of all.
YOU GO BLOCK 3! Thank you for everything.