Do you know the feeling? I mean the feeling of belonging somewhere, within something, or with someone? I do. Getting to this point or feeling, however, was by no means effortless. Unlike most of my classmates in high school, I was always indecisive and uncertain of my future; it scared me. I would always think I had (insert number here) year(s) to find a profession that will fulfill me and will help me provide for myself and my family, but that never happened. And when I became a senior in high school, I applied to the best colleges and universities, cringing as I selected “undecided” as my intended major. As the pressure to have a clear career choice in mind mounted, I began to loathe the idea of attending college when I was feeling so lost. However, as I understood it at the time, I had no choice. “This is what I am supposed to do, what everyone is supposed to do,” I thought. As miserable and confused I was feeling at the time, I never questioned that.
There is a certain irony in how I discovered Global Citizen Year. I was not looking for it. I had already, although reluctantly, accepted my supposed fate: college. So for me to find it on such a trivial, quintessential thing as on an advertisement on the internet radio station Pandora is almost satirical. The picture on the advertisement of a Caucasian woman in African dress surrounded by her African sisters caught my eye. So I clicked, and as I went through the website with disbelief, a wave of emotion crashed into me. It was as if, finally, everything was clicking into place. All my unpolished, half-forgotten childhood and young adult dreams of being a humanitarian, an explorer of cultures, and a social justice advocate seemed more tangible. Consequently, for me taking a gap-year with Global Citizen Year was never a bold or difficult decision. I was presented with the perfect program for the experiences I passionately coveted and I would have been a fool not to take advantage of such opportunity.
Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I never discovered Global Citizen Year. I shudder at the thought because at this point in my life, I cannot imagine myself anywhere but where I am and where I am headed. So I stop. I decide that I have no space for such thoughts when I have this remarkable, sure to be transformative journey ahead of me. Yes, for the first time in my entire life, I decide and I am certain because I belong.