SUMMONED TO BOSTON
My journey to Boston came to me earlier this month via email. It landed right in my inbox, "Congratulations! You have been selected to receive a MIT INSPIRE Mentor Travel Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)." Whoa? I couldn't believe I was being summoned by such a prestigious university like MIT. It didn't seem real. Shortly after, I remembered that the Carnegie Vanguard HS student I mentored last year, Lynn Huynh had submitted her project to MIT's INSPIRE Program a few months prior. MIT invited all of the mentors who participated in the student's project to come together and participate in a workshop that reflected on the role of INSPIRE mentorship, brainstormed new methods of mentoring students, and shared best practices regarding guiding students for research. It was super interesting! A lot of the participants were high school teachers so it was interesting to stand out as a professional?
In my downtime, I was able to walkabout the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I was able to eat delicious pizza and traditional Italian desserts in the North End, tasty lobster rolls in Cambridge, and lots of good red wine. I'm super grateful to MIT for sponsoring me to travel and check out Boston. I originally thought I was going to have to borrow my family's hotel points but luckily it turned out that I was able to get myself an Airbnb instead. It worked out better that way! The couple I stayed with are both writing professors at local universities in Cambridge. We stayed up late and discussed the differences between the two cities. I might have convinced them that there was more to Texas besides Richard Linklater and conservative politics. They were very kind.
I didn't know what I was going to discover in Boston. I kind of took the opportunity, during this time of personal career transitions, to go sit in a classroom at a major university in the Northeast and talk to other like minded individuals about how to be better leaders for students. Turns out that one of the biggest takeaways from the trip was art related. As I was walking around the ICA's gift shop, I noticed a small book written by my favorite French writer, photographer, installation artist and conceptual artist, Sophie Calle. The cover blew my mind. A simple white wall with a taxidermied giraffe head hanging alone on the wall. I've been in the market for a paper mache giraffe head wall hanging for a few months. I came across one in a store in Houston but it is a bit out of my price range. Maybe one day! For now, I will take in Calle's True Stories and carry on.