Alexis Adams - Senegal

July 8, 2011

“Hey mom, I don’t think I want to go to college–at least not right now”

“Hahahahaha (hysterical laughter) what are you talking about?”

“I mean I know eventually I want to go–its just right now I’m so fed up and done with school, I want to do something different! I want to learn, grow, find my self , and do something that makes a difference. If I see another book I’m gonna scream!”

“Girrrrl You Crazy!”

Growing up I was always the over achiever. I was a 12 year old with a business card and mission: to become the first female Prime Minister of my home country Guyana. My plan was get good grades, so I can get into a good college, so I can have a career and make millions.

Its amazing how simple everything seems when you’re in the 7th grade. Your dreams are limitless and concrete. Not one person could have told me then that after high school I would take a year off of school to live and work in Senegal.

My inspiration to take a gap year stems from one of my all time favorite songs by the reggae artiste Buju Banton “Untold Stories”. The song depicts the struggle of many of Caribbean poor and working class and their frustration with inactive and apathetic political leaders.

“Opportunity is a scarce commodity

It’s a competitive world for low budget people

Spending a dime while earning a nickel

With no regards to who it may tickle”

These lyrics rein true not only in the Caribbean, but also in countless other developing nations around the world. As a born Guyanese I feel an obligation not only to help my people, but I want to change the world!

As my junior year came to an end I started to compile my resume and preparing for the college application process. This process forced me to reflect on my entire life and I couldn’t help but feel unfulfilled. I had been an honor roll student, won numerous awards, and held important positions, and yet something was still missing. I realized that I hadn’t done anything that was extraordinary in my eyes. I was closing one chapter in my life, ready to begin another—and some how they both seemed to blur together into one existence. I wanted to do something that makes a difference, something life changing, something that mattered!

That’s why I decided to join Global Citizen Year.

In the next year I want to:

Learn: Fully…immerse myself into a different culture and see the world through someone else eyes.

Grow: Mature…find out what I really want out of life.

Change: Make an impact where I live and work.

Alexis Adams