Leaning into my Bridge-Year

The plane ride over to Stanford was precisely one hour long, a quick jump from Los Angeles to San Francisco, but the flight felt immensely long. I sat there in the middle seat, hoping to exhale after the tireless week of last-minute packing. The strangers beside me provided no consolation, I am traveling alone to San Francisco for Global Launch, our pre-departure program, and will do the same when visiting Ecuador. At that moment, a mixture of melancholy and isolation brewed as I sat in the sky leaving my only home and hoping to soon be acquainted with the people constituting my new one. 


This bridge-year became a rite of passage in my family, my father wishing me the best on my trip and for the first time seeing an adult before him as he kissed me on my head. On that flight, a time to reflect, I finally gave myself credit for advocating for this year. Sometimes preaching messages of humility obstruct me from sharing support inward and acknowledging the beauty of my intuition. 


When proposing this year, there was a mixed reaction from family, and a sense of guilt I created for myself for doing something that initially felt selfish. That going straight to college is the “proper” thing to do and anything else is extraneous. 


However, I have shifted my narrow perspective and come to terms that valuing my education and filling my life with enriching learning experiences is the greatest thing I could do for my personal development. The growth that will take place, the skills and confidence I will build are tools I will take with me wherever I go. I am traveling to Ecuador to become an improved version of myself, and more informed about the world around me through my own two eyes.

And if you were wondering, I did find endless support here at Global Launch and expect to continue these meaningful friendships as I move to Ecuador. 


Here is to another flight in less than twenty-four hours surrounded by people who are about to adventure on the same journey, and those headed to countries in opposite directions connected by this program and the bonds shared in this community.