I am sure all of you have had some interaction with those long, sometimes harsh posts on the Internet about controversial issues. These can range from current events, sports games, or even the tragic downfall of a particular celebrity. Reading these comments, which are usually full of strong language and conflicting opinions, I frequently find myself outraged, disturbed, thrilled, or ecstatic. This weird combination of strong emotions comes as a result of something inside all humans: passion. Some view my generation as being blasé and uninterested in anything but ourselves, but I see us as passionate. Though this passion is not always harnessed and put to productive use, it exists.

Though I cannot fully express the anxiety I have about embarking on this journey, I am comforted by my faith in the human connection, and cannot wait to hear the stories and passions of those I will encounter. Though my decision to take a bridge year was not a conventional or particularly convenient one, I did it because of my intense desire to learn outside of the classroom for a change, and truly immerse myself in a culture that is fundamentally different than the one I have been raised in.