A transformational experience by Axelle

I hate when my grandmother says “make the most of every moment of your life, because time flies”. But she’s right. Time does fly. I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end.

In one year, I’ve met amazing people, I have had unique insights on cultures I didn’t know at all, I’ve learned a lot about a lot of topics, I’ve tasted culinary specialty from all around the world, I’ve enjoyed conversations I’ve never had before about subjects I wouldn’t have thought about before living this experience, I’ve learned to trust people I barely knew. And I’ve achieved something I wouldn’t have dared to dream about one year ago. 

 One year ago I thought my husband was jumping into a transformative experience. I didn’t know I was going to jump into it as well !
During the summer, thanks to a conversation I had with Arifa, one of the Fellows, I understood that I had to seize the opportunity of living 3 miles away from the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Government. Since the topics this school was dealing with were deeply linked to my previous background and the job I quit in France to move to Boston, she told me I should go and attend classes a a listener. I did so. And I realized that I belonged to this place, that I had to try to get in. 
Feb to may 4696For a French, it is difficult to apply for a program in this kind of prestigious Universities. In my culture, we always have a tendency to think that we’re not good enough. Every fellow and partner who helped me working on my application told me: “stop feeling bad when you say you achieved things”, “be proud of your work“, “don’t think you’re lying as soon as you start a sentence by saying “I” “.

In my culture, we say “we”, “my team”, “my colleagues and I”. Because we hate too self confident people. My friends from SF15 and their partners taught me that being proud of what you’ve achieved is not being arrogant, it is being aware of what is going on, who you are, and who you want to be. They taught me that the hard way: by correcting my essays and resume, by asking me for more, for better, endlessly. Nobody gave me “the right answer”, sometimes I felt like a Kun-Fu apprentice, waiting outside of the temple for the Master to decide whether or not I was “ready”. They were all aware I had to go through this process to feel ready. And I’m so grateful for that. 
Few weeks ago, I was accepted at both Harvard Kennedy School and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. When I told my big news to my friends from SF15’s community, you cannot imagine the kindness of people spontaneous reaction. I was so touched to realize how they cared about me. All of them cheered, remembered me struggling to get a good score at my TOEFL, working on my maths exercises for the GRE, all of them were truly happy for me. Some of my friends who went through the same process were accepted in very prestigious programs as well. And I’m very proud of them, because I have the impression that we “fought” together. 

I’ve learned so much this year. Thanks to this amazing community, to true friendship, I’m a changed person, and I know now for sure that “the Sky is the Limit” as my friend Safa says. 

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