Building a Foundation

Sarah Coyne - Brazil

July 5, 2011

I still get random bursts of excitement with adrenaline surging through my body and a smile plastered across my face when I begin to think about this upcoming year. It’s amazing to think that one month ago I was grudgingly getting ready for graduation  — senioritis still in full-gear — pathetically confused about my college plans and insanely curious as to what type of person I’ve truly become over these past eighteen years of my short-lived life.

I used to believe our lives could be defined by great moments and achievements and — when taken collectively — represent who we currently are and who we can become as a person. That by getting decent grades meant you were a decent kid or serving your community meant you had empathy for others. That somehow our achievements would not only exemplify but define us as human beings, and that awards and ribbons meant you were irrevocably destined for great things.

I’ve changed my mind since then in coming to see the value of others. Not by awards or by circumstance, but by listening to others and letting them tell their own story. It’s not just a matter of being empathetic and considerate towards fellow human beings, it is a source for higher understanding. By letting individuals have their own voice, you shift the world’s imaging of inhibited media, hyped sound bites, and others ulterior motives into something completely raw and uncensored: human experience.

Global Citizen Year is taking place during a formative period of my life, essentially a foundation for which I can further build and react upon, a place for me to begin sorting out life’s demands and indifferences. It’s not a mere pass or fail — either I save the world or not — it is an understanding and willingness to fight off the challenges everyday people face. It is a way for me to share my own story and listen to others as well, a way for me to gain self-sufficiency in knowledge and independence while broadening current horizons of what I’m truly passionate about and harnessing what I already know and love. But most of all, it’s not about me. It’s about those that I will be serving and using my best efforts in ingenuity and strength to help them overcome whatever it is holding them back, and thus truly understanding what resides in our global community in context rather than content, and truly attempting to affect change.

Sarah Coyne