When I created this blog, I didn’t know that I was creating it to record an adventure that I would never embark on. That was over two years ago. I was going to spend nine months alone in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and New Zealand, straight out of high school. I was tired of school and craved adventure. I wanted to be independent; I wanted to have experiences that my peers could only imagine.
That trip never happened. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse by my number one school and abandoned my dreams of a gap year in order to attend Reed. Looking back, I get this feeling that the trip would never have happened. It felt like somehow it was all “part of the plan” to organize a gap year I would never go on. If I hadn’t planned to take a year off, I wouldn’t have been able to answer the door when Reed College came knocking.
Now it has come full circle, and I have the feeling of déjà vu. I am a junior now, halfway through my undergrad, and since last December I had been planning to spend Fall 2014 studying abroad in Tanzania and Kenya. Maybe I have been feeling like I need a break from what was once voted “Hardest College” in the US.
First, Kenya was taken off the table when civil unrest made the School for Field Studies decide it was too unsafe. Now, I am grounded here in Portland by an avulsion fracture in my right foot, which I obtained two weeks prior to departure as a result of a pinched nerve (which was obtained as a result of gardening).
With the amount of time it will take to heal undetermined, and the interim spent in crutches and a boot, going to the Tanzanian wilderness for four months didn’t seem like the best course of action.
At first, I was angry, and immensely disappointed. After spending the last four months nursing the double compound fracture in my arm back to health, it just didn’t seem fair that this would happen to me. Again. I didn’t want to go back to Reed; after spending the summer taking organic chemistry at Portland State University, I was as burnt out as when I graduated high school.
But now, here I am, moving into my new room in an on-campus co-op called the Garden House, instead of packing my bags to fly out to Tanzania tomorrow. I have signed up for some great courses and I am happy to see my friends again and to meet the bright-eyed students to whom Reed is still a new experience.
It feels very much the same as that imaginary gap year. All the plans were in place, and the planning was vital. But in both cases, I feel I was meant to set a path for myself and then walk in a totally different direction. I feel suddenly like there was never a chance I would be flying to East Africa tomorrow, no matter how much I had planned to do so. It was always meant to be that the plans would fall through.
I will still be going to Tanzania in the spring, and I look forward to it passionately. But right now I am content to be here at Reed, learning as much as I can and hoping to forestall any future déjà vu.