He was working on what seemed to be a calendar when I asked him for five minutes of his time. He looked at me blankly, sighed and almost reluctantly said “sure.” I remember sitting in the office starring at his back as I tried to gain the guts to tell him that I had decided to defer a year from college in order to join Global Citizen Year. My palms were so sweaty and as much as I tried to look him in the eyes, once he had turned around to give me his attention, I caught myself avoiding them because I was afraid of what he might say. When the words finally stumbled out of my mouth, he took a long pause and said “look at you Mejia, always doing things differently. You know when you were in kindergarten you always had this huge independent attitude. You never really went with the rules but you always did what you felt was right for you to do and you never did anything that made you unhappy. I am so excited for you! Brazil is lucky to have you. When do you leave? How long will you be there? Will you let me know how things are going? You better send me a postcard! Why did I not know about this until now?” I couldn’t really think about what to say but I felt myself smiling, happy that he had not said what I did not want to hear.
I’ve always been the one to do things differently, not really minding what people think because I am doing what I love to do. Even though I am super excited that I applied to Global Citizen Year and the fact that I get to be abroad for a long period of time, part of me is intimidated and frightened by the idea. I know that no matter where I go after this journey, I have been better prepared because I have allowed myself to adapt to change. I know I will be stronger because I have had the time to develop a new perspective and been given the opportunity to explore myself further in depth.