IWMF Fellowship is teaching me to slow down and make every moment count

Imagine having just one day left to live. What would you do? Most likely, you’d fork out the longest to-do list imaginable, filled with all those things you’ve been putting off. It’s a common theme advocated by life coaches, to live every day of your life as though it is your parting shot on earth.

My journey with the IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship began in early February this year, fueled by a similar commitment to make every moment count and approach learning with unbridled enthusiasm.

When you are given six months to study in the most prestigious educational institutes in the US and work at two of the most esteemed newsrooms in America, you dove in headfirst.

“Six months is just 182 days. That is 26 weeks. That will pass in a whiff.” I kept telling myself. That mental clock kept reminding me that it is a race. There is no time to slow down or pause during the 4368 hours I have.

I immersed myself in a whirlwind of activity by enrolling in several classes at MIT and Harvard. I signed up for dozens of seminars and online discussions. On dictators and democracies; on refugees and displacement; on Ukraine and Gaza. My calendar was choke-a-block with appointments with professors, scholars and fellow journalists as I sought out every opportunity for intellectual growth.

Setting ambitious targets and deadlines, I challenged myself to produce stories for The Globe. Not an easy task at an unfamiliar territory. I pushed through even when met with setback when storylines fell through or interviews did not yield the desired results.

More importantly, I kept a close watch on myself for any hint of incompetence.

Whenever I felt my pace slowed or my drive slackened, I reminded myself of the privilege I have been granted.

But then, as the first few weeks went by amidst the hustle of attending classes and chasing stories, I forgot to notice the ease with which I was settling in Boston. What began as a foreign and unfamiliar city gradually morphed into my own, a place where I felt a sense of comfort and even belonging. The daily commute on T, once a daunting task, became like my second nature.

As I started navigating the city with more confidence, strangers became acquaintances and some even friends. I found myself delving deeper into the rich tapestry of Boston life, exploring the city’s historic monuments and attractions. Each new day became an adventure of discovering and learning about new people, new sensibilities, and new culture.

I came to realize that true growth lies not in racing against the clock. It’s about slowing down, allowing myself to fully absorb the richness of my surrounding and taking the time to savor each moment.

The Fellowship is not just about seizing opportunities and acquiring knowledge; it’s about embracing the transformative power of living fully. As they say, it is the journey that counts and not the destination.