Known in the musical community as a viola hickey, the welt under my left jaw has purpled significantly since September. Its coloration has suffered from long hours in the Trinity Orchestra (including getting stranded in Scotland by storms during our tour) and paid gigs (through which I appreciate the irony of supporting my career in STEM by pursuing my dreams in the arts). But I am proud to wear the blemish on my neck as a badge of my musicianship, a testament to my involvements, a scar of today that will become a story of tomorrow.

Beyond music, my other recent exploits have also left their marks. My fingers are burned from making colcannon with our Irish housekeeper’s recipe. My heels are blistered from wandering Dublin with a visiting Marshall. My nose is bronzed from climbing castles in Portugal with MIT friends. And my shoulders are stiff from curling over my laptop, scratching my head over the latest OpenGL programming assignment.

Through my aches and pains, I am gratified to know that my growth in the past seven months has manifested in measurable ways. Bodily or otherwise, my takeaways from this year will certainly carry forward through the rest of my life. As I look ahead to my departure from the island, I count every callus and savor every sore, appreciative of the souvenirs that I’ll always have of my Mitchell year.

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