A Necessary Deviation

Benito Aranda-Comer - Brazil

July 17, 2012

Before this year, I never thought it would be possible to deviate from the societal norm: to do a bridge year before college. Today, while all my friends are talking about dorm assignments and what they think they’ll major in, I am doing my best to learn Portuguese and prepare for nine months that will absolutely change my life.

A very large part about being young is having high hopes for oneself. However there is also the constant fear of failing and disappointing yourself and loved ones. The dread failure can be crushing and debilitating because it shows how vulnerable, fragile, and unprepared one can be. This is the reason that many students focus a good deal of time on what other students are doing: they want to go with the flow. It isn’t a bad idea to make sure what you’re doing is similar to others, but it leaves no room for experiment, from changing your “path.” While I believe there is no specific path to achieving happiness, I believe that there are certainly things one can do to make the journey more fruitful. For instance, being exposed to foreign cultures is imperative because it allows the individual to grow as a person and become more culturally aware.

The idea Global Citizen Year has put forward in its very name, and that I speak about whenever I am asked about my year abroad, is that this program is to become a ‘Global Citizen.’ In this ever changing world, the focus is no longer on nations being separate but as countries working together. In order for the Earth’s people to work collaboratively, it is absolutely necessary to understand that though others might do things differently, the intentions and general will at a basic human level is completely similar. Global Citizen Year has already helped me realize that though we are different, we are the same.

What I am looking forward to most is the opportunity to be immersed in a culture where life is different. I want to see who I am once I am removed from all that is familiar. I hope this new perspective will reaffirm my decision to defer college and participate in the Global Citizen Year. Deviation simply means a change. While in this context it may seem more serious, I am confident that my journey on my “path” will be exciting, confusing, difficult, but all the more worth it because of its nature.

Benito Aranda-Comer