There’s a Lot to Think About and a Lot to Love

Mia Reyes - Senegal


August 12, 2018

It is a hard feeling to describe sitting here counting down the days until I leave the comforts of all that is familiar and side step tradition as I embrace my gap year. And yet, I feel equally justified in saying that I am not particularly inclined to describe the feeling entirely because so many are experiencing it with me, and I am already grateful for the remarkable group of individuals in the same headspace as I, asking similar questions of themselves. Likewise, there is also a similar comfort in knowing that there were many before me undoubtedly feeling it all too. It makes it all very validating.

I applied for Global Citizen Year while I was still a junior in high school knowing that it was something that I needed to do, but I think it also has made it very difficult to accept the reality of my decision. At this point in time, it has been a year and two months since I made the choice to go to Senegal with Global Citizen Year, a decision both equally personal and important to me but because the timeline of my acceptance has been a long time coming it has also felt very distant, always telling myself that I wouldn’t be leaving for another year or another eight months or sixth months. I always had time. Time to think, time to prepare, time to welcome. And now time is running out and truthfully it’s a weird feeling to get to know if I think about it for too long.

I am excited and jittery. Curious and dazed. Passionate and overwhelmed. It’s a lot if I let myself get carried away, but despite the chaos that is the hodgepodge of my emotions, it is my humanness. Honestly, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t feeling a million and one things at once—some of them contradictory—and so I welcome it. I welcome it and I stop trying to describe it because sometimes there is no real need to and I would much rather experience the feeling than describe the feeling. I am here for the ride and I like to believe that I am ready and it is the culmination of all the cliches of “my life is about to change” and those of the like.

At any given time, there is a side of me that stumbles over the answers to the questions asked by those closest to me of the year to come and a side of me that gets frustrated anticipating what I will or will not find useful for my stay in Senegal or a version of me that wishes I took four years of French and not Spanish, and at every phase of this journey I find that despite what chaos might be surrounding me it is not as a result of hesitation or my refusal to embrace my reality, but rather the exact opposite. I choose to enter this year with no expectations and no reservations and this is not to say that I am afraid that I will be dissapointed, but rather my way of welcoming all that is to come, my way of choosing to stay present.

My journey to Global Citizen Year has been a long one, but it is the right one. And it is not over yet! I look forward to sharing it all with you!

Also, a HUGE thank you to all those who supported me thus far: friends, family, everyone at VN (you all know who you are)

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Mia Reyes