To Be Completed By April 30th: My Goals For My Gap Year

Before leaving the country for my nine month long gap year, The World Race, I was asked quite frequently what I expected to gain from taking a gap year, what goals did I want to accomplish? To be quite honest, I did not know. I knew that I would experience things that would make me take me out of my comfort zone, that I would interact and learn from cultures that were not my own, and that because my program is a mission trip, my faith would be tested, stretched, but ultimately be made stronger. Now that I am nearly hallway through my race, I have set three goals for myself that I have been working towards and that I believe I will be able to fulfill by the time April 30th rolls around.

The first goal I set for myself was to read through the entire Bible once, and the New Testament twice. I set this goal for myself three months in when the airplane touched down in my second country, The Philippines. Reflecting on my senior year of high school it hit me that I studied my biology textbook more than my Bible, that made me extremely uncomfortable. So, I devised a reading plan that would take my through sixteen pages of my Bible a day. Ten pages would take me through both the Old Testament and New Testament in the six months I have remaining. The remaining six pages are to be read from the New Testament, reading only six pages would take me through the New Testament in three months, so I will repeat this twice. By April 30th I will have read through the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, something I have not accomplished before, and read through the New Testament two additional times, Matthew to Revelation. By completing this goal I hope to strengthen my faith and bolster my understanding of the Bible.

I left the States in early August with a squad of fifty eighteen to twenty-two year olds, for most of us this would be the first time we would be living away from our parents, and for all of us, the first time we would be living long-term overseas. In the Atlanta airport, I decided that a goal I had for these next nine months was for it to be a time of extreme growth in maturity and independence for me. Living on a small group team of eight girls and living in such tight quarters, we are constantly held accountable for our actions. Living in such intense community has stretched me and at many times challenged me, but ultimately resulted in what I see to be a more developed character in all of us. Every night we give each other feedback, during this time we take turns sharing our thoughts on the performance of others on our team. Feedback can be positive or constructive. At first it was hard for me to receive constructive feedback, however, as I matured, I was able to realize that my team mates were critiquing me out of love and with a desire for me to continue to grow. I hope that in the remaining six months that this growth continues, when I return home my goal is that this growth would be apparent to my friends and family.

My final goal for participating in the World Race: Gap Year is to take more risks and accept more challenges, in turn expanding my comfort zone and opening doors that had been closed to me before, part of accomplishing this goal is simply saying yes. In Albania I was able to say yes to many things I would have shied away from only three months before. This has included sharing my testimony in front of a congregation of total strangers, teaching three hour and a half long English classes with only an hour of prep to students, some of whom were twice my age and a spontaneous trip to Thessaloniki in Greece. Already I have seen the fruits of my labor; I am more willing and more excited to go first, to say yes and to accept challenges. The progress I have made towards completing this goal has also affected the goals I have for my education at Florida State after my gap year, I am excited to be able to shape my future with the help of the students and staff at. I am no longer comfortable with complacency and eager to share the knowledge I have gained by participating in this gap year, knowledge that cannot be taught in a classroom.

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