When I applied to Global Citizen Year, I wanted to go for the adventure, my overwhelming amount of wanderlust, and the excitement. I never took into account what taking a bridge year meant.
Global Citizen Year had us do an exercise to develop our vision for the year. I couldn’t help but internally roll my eyes. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t feel the need to write it out. We were given a half an hour and a sheet of paper with the definition of a vision and prompts. I wrote three drafts. I had no vision. I knew the general path I wanted to take; college, two years in the Peace Corps, law school. I didn’t know why I wanted to do these things or what I would do with a law degree if I were to get one. I had the vague motivation of “doing something” but what was something, what was doing? Questions swam in my head as the minutes ticked away until I scribbled onto a piece of paper what I had in my head.
I sat, listening to everyone’s vision, my eyes focused on my own paper. There was so much I wanted to do and yet I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had an itch to achieve, to change the world. But how? The constant rotation of questions got into my head until I stood to share my vision.
“Many of my high school experiences left me short-sighted. Um…” I trailed off, the paper quivering in my hand. “By the end of this year, I hope to have found a purpose – not a vague what but the why and how. I want to discover a clear path to follow and to become someone worth admiring. I want to return home with a broadened heart and a widened mind. This year, I hope to grasp a better understanding of my role in the world and to find my voice as a leader. I want to feel invigorated by new experiences, discoveries, and friends. I want to work towards a balance between reckless behavior and cautious thinking. By the end of this year, I hope to have transformed into an adult with a clear purpose.” I read clearly and calmly.
A waterfall of clarity rushed into my head as I sat down. The world I wanted to see was a wrapped gift and I needed to unwrap it. But I had to know to unwrap it. I had to know the actions to take to bring about the world that ought to be. This year was a chance for me to find my purpose, my path, to answer questions about my future and my present. I was going to grow so much this year and this growth would start me on the roller coaster up, a ride to success.
Although I never thought about the benefits of a bridge year, I’ve already witnessed small changes in myself. I have become more open and in touch with my emotions. I have begun to develop a plausible vision and plan for myself. I’m on the path to unwrapping the world I need and want.