Just Getting Started

Grace Mannix - Senegal


July 30, 2014

Maybe not going to college right after graduating high school makes you nervous. Maybe you can only afford it with monetary help. Maybe there are requirements you aren’t sure you can meet. Maybe all of the vaccinations you have to get, especially for diseases you haven’t even heard of, are a little intimidating. Perhaps you’re still learning the language they speak. Maybe you have trouble imagining life in 100 degree weather (at least) wearing long skirts and dark colors. Perhaps you don’t want to leave your family and friends. Maybe you’re nervous about how different everything will be in a very short time.

No matter the situation, anything has the power to hold you back if you let it do so. There are always a million reasons not to do something. So why would someone ignore all of the aforementioned “reasons” for not participating in Global Citizen Year? No one likes shots, no one wants to say goodbye to loved ones.

The answer to why is different for every fellow. For me, as cliché as it is, this is actually a dream come true. Roughly 13 years ago, I was the little girl that watched an episode of 7th Heaven about the Lost Boys of Sudan and fell in love with African culture. I have grown up with the travel bug, a passion for community service, and an understanding that I would one day go to Africa. It has been what I’ll call an “unplanned definite:” I have always known that I would get there at some point, but there was no telling when.

Well, here I am. Summer 2014. I just graduated high school a year early, and am making preparations for the once in a lifetime opportunity I have patiently been waiting for. The process so far is challenging already, but it is worthwhile. I love the opportunities that I have already had and have yet to take advantage of. My love for going outside of my comfort zone and moving forward sedates any anxiety about the coming year. I have no idea what to expect from my Global Citizen Year but you bet your bottom dollar I’m excited for it.

To finally be traveling to an African country is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. I’m looking forward to making friends out of strangers with the rest of the fellows and GCY Staff. I can’t wait to find out what my apprenticeship is during my time in Senegal, and who my host family will be. I wonder who I’ll be when I return, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’m just getting started.

Grace Mannix