Like many high school seniors, I spent this past fall writing essays, filling out transcript requests, and entering my personal information on the Common Application. For one of my essays, I had to write about the best piece of advice I had ever received. I discussed the inspiration that I take from of one of my favorite sayings, which is ”Do one thing every day that scares you.” I submitted the essay and got into the school, but I kept the advice in mind. When I went rock climbing on the slick rocks of Joshua Tree this winter, these were the words that I pictured and when I stood up in front of my first scholarship interview panel, this was the mantra that I repeated to myself. This spring, as I was nearing my final college decision, I came across an ad for Global Citizen Year and realized that this was my opportunity to truly follow my favorite piece of advice.
I had been toying with the idea of a bridge year and when I read more about Global Citizen Year, I found that it was the exact experience that I was seeking. I’ll get to totally immerse myself in a new culture, I’ll have the opportunity to give back to my host community, and I’ll definitely be faced with many experiences that will frighten me on varying levels. I could not be more excited to see what I will learn about the world and myself during my Global Citizen Year, but I feel slight pangs of nervousness every time I remember that I won’t see my family and friends for nine months. When I think about adjusting to a new language and new customs, I am thrilled but also a bit scared. However, my nervousness is quelled by the realization that it’s okay to be afraid, as long as I don’t let my fear get the better of me. I promise to try new foods even if I have no idea what they are, and I promise to talk to my new community members every chance I get, no matter how poor my language skills may initially be. I can’t wait to use my worries to inspire me to seek out new adventures and opportunities during this year of change.