Congratulations! You made it. Welcome to the cheesiest blog post you’ll ever read. You may have accidentally stumbled upon this post, but alas, you are here and there’s no turning back. To hook you in, here’s a picture of a hot, new, Jazz-R&B-hip hop group that is crushing the music scene in DC: Daddy Boban and the Funky Bunch. Album drops June 2016. Featuring new tracks like, “Late Dinner Thief”,and “Weird Asparagus”.
ISH Residents hanging out
And now, back to business: I wanted to write about how “ISH” really embodies the sentiment of this House. Those exact three letters and the sound that they make when you say them together. For example, at the International Student House, we’re all adults…ish. We’re all students…ish. We date…ish. We meet in the lobby at 9…ish. We know how to network, cook, and be successful, young professionals in DC…ish. We’ve got life figured out…ish.
Not to mention, were all distinguISHed merit scholars, most of us are quite outlandISH, and some of us are FinnISH and speak SpanISH. (I couldn’t help myself.) Once I started thinking about how we are all in this “ish” phase in our lives and how much “ish” we all deal with on a regular basis, it hit me:
ISH is more than just a physical place, it’s a way of being.
It sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. This is essentially to say: we are in a very weird place in our lives. We’re in a gray area. We’re doing the limbo in the “in-between” space that comes right before entering into adulthood and after school (this place is also commonly referred to as the Front Page.) At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of kids, living in a crazy, fun house together, learning how to navigate the ups and downs of life, relationships, identity and everything in between. The best part about it is: we’re all learning how to do it together. It’s an incredible feeling to come home to a house of open-minded, brilliant, thoughtful humans that are going through similar life struggles and triumphs (i.e. figuring out how to be “normal” around your colleagues, winning first place in trivia at Bier Baron, etc.)
ISH is a living, breathing thing. It’s a concept. It’s something that connects people that are thousands of miles away. It’s not just a brick building filled with old school furniture and bread rolls. It’s a mentality.
I’ve lived at ISH for nearly two years. I have learned so much about myself and the type of life I want to lead as a result of my time at this one-of-a-kind place and the one-of-a-kind people I’ve met. During my time at ISH, I experienced a lot of personal “firsts.” I had my first full-time job (which came with a lot of other “firsts”); I fell in love for the first time, had my first real identity crisis, it was my first time living with three other people in the same room (and many, many more.) A lot of these “firsts” I experienced alongside my friends at ISH and I could not be more grateful for their companionship during this time in my life.
Without question, the greatest thing that I’ve learned at ISH is how sweet life can be when you are part of an intentional community. Someone once said that the quality of your life is measured by the quality of your relationships. In my mind, this couldn’t possibly be more true. Community is really the only tangible thing in this world.
The community at ISH is special. It really is. It has impacted so many people—no matter the length of their stay. Most communities are defined by traditions that are continuously upheld and constant. ISH is fascinating because it has constantly changing traditions, evolving community values, and rotating residents that cycle in and cycle out. When you stop to think about it, the fact that ISH itself is more than just a place where people find temporary housing and go to bed at night is truly astonISHing. If a community can be fostered in a fluid environment with a lot of seemingly concrete barriers between people at ISH, it can be cultivated anywhere.
In just a few short weeks, I’ll be leaving the International Student House and will be propelling myself into the scary and cold world of adulthood. Even though I’m sad to go, I’m also extremely excited to take what I learned at ISH and create my own community elsewhere. Now that I know how incredible it is to feel at home with a group of people who were once strangers—I can’t wait to extend that same practice of openness, kindness, and acceptance to others and build a village in this city.
I am going to miss (or should I say mISH) so many things about this House. I’m going to miss the late night talks over water in the dining hall, the weird smell of the library, the asparagus at Sunday dinner, Resident Salons and guitar nights in the Great Hall, the couches in the basement, this whirlwind time in my life, and the satisfied, happy feeling of coming home to good old 7B.
I will continue to cherISH this place and these people long after I move out of ISH. Like I said, it’s a mentality. It’s a way of being. The “ish” phase in my life isn’t necessarily coming to a close once I leave this place (and maybe it never will!). One thing I know for sure is that the memories I’ve made here, the things I’ve learned, and the connections I made will truly stay with me for the rest of my life. I hope to carry on the legacy of ISH in everything I do going forward and always put myself out there and get to know others in a genuine, real way because of the experiences I’ve had here.
I hope to bring with me the same open-minded, fun-loving, innovative spirit that has made this community such a wonderful place to live and grow.
To finISH off this very gushy blog post, I’ll close with a quote from Howard Thurman, who so brilliantly wrote: “Ask not what the word needs. Ask what makes you come alive…then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” To all of my ISH family members near and far: thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me come alive. It is with your kindness, well wishes, and all of our memories that I dive head first into the next chapter of my life. Here’s to you, ISH!