Honestly, I’m not really sure what changed last summer, but something did and I’m glad that it happened. At this time last year, I was on the summer lacrosse circuit believing that I was going to play the sport in college. For one reason or another, my entire mindset changed going into the fall. After a couple of visits to schools that were interested in me, I realized that I did not want to have the college experience that I once believed that I wanted. I realized that I actually sought to live an exciting and unique life, pushing my boundaries and expanding my horizons. I wanted to see the world in ways that I had not seen it before. When I recognized this change of mindset, I began to research gap year programs.
The thought of doing a gap year had always interested me, yet my life seemed to be moving along too swiftly to have time to do such a thing. I always thought that after high school I would play lacrosse in college, go to law school, and then immediately begin the grind of adulthood. I believed that the track for my life was set, and for the most part this is what society told me as well. When I realized that I could make taking a gap year a realistic option, a ton of possibilities seemed to open up. Global Citizen Year stood out to me as a program that had the perfect balance of helping me grow (in every way that I can think of) and helping others. As a Global Citizen Year Fellow next year, I will have the opportunity to live in a society entirely different than one that I have lived in for my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, Washington DC is a great place, but I know that there’s more out there.
I am not actually sure what I am going to be doing during my year in Ecuador, and until a few weeks ago I was not sure where I was going to be traveling. I am not fluent in Spanish by any means, even though I have taken 5+ years of Spanish classes in school. At this point, I don’t know any other of the kids who are taking part in this program, and I obviously do not know the Ecuadorian family that I will be living with. All of these uncertainties make this experience even more interesting and exciting to me. My entire life has been very structured, from school to sports to my schedule. Up until this point in my life everything in my life has been, to some degree, certain and predictable. Before embarking on my journey on August 19th, only one thing seems to be certain: This will be a unique experience from which I will learn and grow.