Post GCY Final Thoughts

Hailey Thomas-Turner - Senegal


June 1, 2019

Post GCY Final Thoughts

I cannot believe that just two months ago I was a completely different person. Die Astou Samb. I remember the day that my father gave me that name. He named me after my older sister who was there when she gave it to me. She looked so embarrassed that so much attention would be placed onto her. From that day forward, I made an effort to always remind her that I was “Die Astou Narr”, or Die Astou Two. I miss my days of being Die Astou Narr, or Die Astou Bu Ndow, as my father would say. Switching back into life as Hailey truly has been hard. I’ve taken on two jobs. One at a supermarket cafe and one at a factory cafe. Everyone wants to hear so much about my experience, or they do not care at all, o I am bombarded with ridiculous questions, such as “Did you host parents have a phone?”. I try to remember to be patient with

everyone just as my host family and the community of Taiba were patient with me. I miss them all dearly. I am planning to go back next July for a visit.

Overall, my gap year experience was life changing. I learned so much about myself. I did a lot of growing up and realizing. I feel like I can accomplish anything to which I set my mind. I guess the main lesson I learned was: confidence is key. I would put myself down before even trying. Now, I am ready to start my freshman year at Illinois Institute of Technology strong and confident.

Hailey Thomas-Turner