A part of my story

Vruj Patel - Senegal


July 19, 2013

Ever since I can remember, I have loved to hear stories.

Though most of my family never went to college, they are steeped in years of Indian and Hindu mythology and there is nothing more exciting to me than learning about my ancestors and their countless traditions. Even without a PhD, my grandfather continues to captivate me with tales of Lord Krishna’s heroism and legends about the birth of the elephant-headed Ganesha. He, along with the rest of my family, has taught me the power of stories and instilled within me a genuine sense of awe towards the role of religion and mysticism in humanity’s shared heritage. This tradition of story-telling has taught me that there exists another type of education, marked by its absence of desks and pencils, whose knowledge can be imparted drinking a cup of warm chai tea and in the comforting arms of relatives.

Truthfully, I had accepted that I would be going to college immediately after high school because it was the narrative I had heard all my life. The idea that I could somehow venture off the beaten path to success was totally impossible. And I couldn’t blame them – my mother was a single parent and the only tenuous chance I had to succeed was to go to a college that was generous with financial aid. I had loved their stories but I knew that mine would never be quite so epic.

And then Global Citizen Year happened. I never really expected to be admitted and once the opportunity was staring at me in the face, I knew immediately that this was supposed to be a part of my story. I wanted to live, to do more than breathe; I wanted to explore and push boundaries. I knew that the universe was throwing me a rope and that I should take it and hold on with all of my might.

So here I am, on the brink of an experience that I’m sure is about to change the course of my life and I could not be more nervous and excited.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved to hear stories. Now it is time for me to write my own. 

Vruj Patel