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Orientation Reflection: Day 5

September 7, 2013

lisa hammershaimb


…and then Thursday came. Presentation Day. The event that was set in motion way way back at the end of May when we first met as a group. 6 hours. 4 presentations. Game On.

Going into the Orientation week, this was hands down the thing I was most scared about. My confidence in my own public speaking endeavors ranked just about equal with my confidence in my own ability to survive a shark attack…totally zero. But, with super courageous acts in the not too distant past and the accompaniment of two other cohort members who I pretty much completely trusted, I did the brave thing and didn’t fake stomach flu but rather stood up when our turn came, faced the audience, and began to speak.

And it was amazing and fun and speaking to my fellow cohort members wasn’t like speaking to strangers who were secretly planning on how to verbally assault me but rather was like having a large chat with friends who had, unexpectedly, become very very dear to me in a very short time. My voice was strong and clear and steady and listening to myself I began to believe that maybe this whole EdD business wasn’t a fluke…maybe I actually was meant to be exactly at this spot at this time…maybe it was possible.

Our presentation was highly interactive and Rossetta, Lynne and I acted more as round table discussion hosts than as all knowing image experts. The cohort too couldn’t have been more supportive of our ideas and process. They rallied like champions and even got into heated debates of their own, furthering everyone’s learning. There was one moment where the three of us stepped back, smiled to each other and silently shared a deep deep exhale knowing that our crazy ideas and the careful planning we’d poured into the process all summer long worked.

After everyone presented it was time to head out for our final dinner together. We toasted each other, ate obscene amounts of Italian food and dessert accompanied by too many glasses of red wine to count. There was so much laughter and so many stories and we all savored the close community that we’d become over the past several days. Going into this experience I had no idea what a cohort was or why anyone would intentionally seek it out. After orientation, I think I’d have serious reservations about joining a program that didn’t have the cohort element built into it. At the end of the day, we all are going to be doing something that is harder than any of us can ever imagine and we will be tested beyond what we think we can logically handle and yet the beauty of the cohort is that you never have to do it alone. And for this I am so so thankful.

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