So I told you to be on the lookout for a sappy end of year post and here it is…

This is it! Final papers and projects are submitted (well, don’t talk to those of us in Dr. GK’s curriculum class) and on Saturday, many of us paraded through the Palestra in our caps and gowns to receive our diplomas. And by diplomas, I mean a nice envelope that had a piece of paper inside telling us our diplomas will be mailed to us later.

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It’s hard to believe that our first (and for half of us, last) year of IEDP has come to a close. These last nine months have truly flown by, though it also feels like I’ve known my fellow classmates forever. Many of those not graduating even came to the ceremony to support those of us who were. It makes it hard to say goodbye, especially since we’re all traveling to different ends of the earth and have no idea when we’ll next be in the same place.

We celebrated with one final cohort BBQ two weeks ago, hosted by Eric, and in true IEDP style there was lots of dancing and tons of food. And when I say tons of food, I mean there was probably 1.5 pounds of meat per person…and practically half of our cohort is vegetarian. It was a great way to forget about the stresses of our policy briefs and everything else we had going on. It also happened to be my birthday, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate, than with the people who have kept me sane and kept me laughing this past year.

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This last week has been a blur of packing, cramming in last minute activities, and saying goodbye as people begin to leave Philly. Some are going home for a quick visit, some are already leaving for their internships (stay tuned for more on that next week!), and a few people are hanging back to relax a little or take summer classes.

For those of us who aren’t coming back in the fall, we’re a little more nostalgic than those who still have a semester left. There’s that feeling of finality as you walk out of the library or the GSE building for the last time, or drink the last of the free GSC coffee, realizing that this is the end of an era. But one thing that has also become even more clear recently, during weekday brunch at Sabrina’s or the Phillies game we recently attended, is that even though I may not see my classmates on a daily basis anymore, and even though we may not live in the same city (or even the same continent!), we experienced something so meaningful and fun (and yes, at times stressful) together that IEDP truly has given us a bond that will span the many countries we will settle in and the various types of work that we will do. I’m so thankful for that, and I’m already counting down the days to IEDP Alumni Day 2019!