My Future Found Me

Sophia Alfaro - India


August 14, 2018

If a stranger were to ask me to describe myself, I would say I am annoyingly persistent, proactively procrastinated, and blindly determined. I'm unbalanced but still crossing the tightrope. When it comes to me, where there's a will, there's always a way. And that's how I'm finding myself here today, uploading my thoughts for Global Citizen Year.

I've known for over a year and a half now that college directly after high school wasn't meant for me. My hometown's school district challenged me in ways that had I not experienced, I wouldn't be able to call myself any of the things aforementioned. At times it felt like I had to put in triple the amount of effort compared to my peers because I couldn't get the concepts of the troubling subjects down. Other times it felt as if I was the only one who had my back. After four years of struggling with my strengths and weaknesses, I knew I was due for a bit of a break… and two months of summer wouldn't be enough. 
Initially, my plan was to take a semester off before college and travel, but Global Citizen Year had other plans for me. In June of 2017, I came across GCY's Instagram on my newsfeed. Coincidentally, at this point in my junior year of high school, I had an idea of where I was going to apply to in the upcoming fall but had no real grasp or sense of where I saw myself graduating from in four years time. It wasn't until I looked further into GCY that I knew what that feeling I was searching for was. For the first time in my life, I understood what a calling is.
I composed my short answer responses for my application within a couple of days and sent it in immediately afterward. Everything happened so fast– the application, interview, and decision process took less than a week! 
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Once I found out I had been accepted, I was ecstatic. I forwarded the message to my mother the second after I had read through everything and kept my decision to follow through with GCY to myself before I could financially commit. Only a few close friends knew that I had gone through the application process and was considering leaving home for eight whole months.
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Two months after I knew I would be taking a year off from school, I looked through my main email's spam folder– something I never do. What made me feel the need to look through this part of my email beats me, but regardless of the reason, I'm so happy I did. As I skimmed subject lines, I saw a rather out of place one. It read, "ALOHA from Hawai'i Pacific University". Caught off guard, my first thought was "there's schools in Hawai'i?!?" 
Yeah, not my proudest moment… 
Out of curiosity, I read through the first email I saw from HPU. I searched for them in my mail and discovered that they had been emailing me since April of last year. I began to get the same feeling I got when I first came across GCY's advertisement: excitement, interest, and fate. It was meant to be. 
I applied Early Action and waited for the day that HPU planned to email decisions. I knew I would be accepted, but there was a chance that I wouldn't be, and that scared me. 
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Once I recieved this email, I could breathe. I had a broad sense of the next two years of my life, and nothing made me more at peace. 
I didn't choose to take a gap year because I wasn't ready for school. I chose to take a gap year because I wanted to see the world before being expected to make a difference in it. 
I knew what I wanted and never looked back. I deferred my first year at HPU and started packing for India. By taking a gap year, I'm not putting my education on hold; I'm expanding it. 
P.S GCY and HPU your marketing teams are doing AMAZING 🙂

Sophia Alfaro