January Blog by Emma!!!

Throughout my gap year, there have been many moments that have called for bravery. I came on this program only knowing one person, which for me is pretty brave. I feel that I’ve been brave socially, emotionally, and even physically since I’ve been here. Socially, I have had to go out of my comfort zone to try new, adventurous things with people I barely knew. Now, I can say with confidence that the bravery I had in those moments has helped me progress and make lifelong friendships. Emotionally, I have been brave because I have never been this far from my immediate family. It is definitely hard sometimes, and going nine months without seeing my parents (and my dog) can be emotionally taxing, but I have been braver than I imagined I would be. Also, I have been brave by physically challenging myself to do difficult hikes and bike rides. For example, I biked around the Sea of Galilee (about 36 miles) without any preparation, which will forever be one of my most rewarding experiences.

As for kindness, there are many moments I can recall on my gap year. I value kindness a lot because one can never know who really needs it, and giving it can make a huge difference. I put a lot of effort into being a good friend, first of all because I think you have to be when meeting around 100 new people and secondly because friendships are important to me. I try to be inclusive and go out of my way to perform random acts of kindness each day.

Failing and bouncing back are inevitable aspects of life. No matter how significant, each failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. I have probably failed and recovered countless times during my gap year, but I’ll share one of those experiences in more depth. For the Tel Aviv section of our program, we choose to volunteer or intern for the semester. At first, I was dead set on volunteering in an elementary school. I was quick to sign up, but as the time came closer and closer, I began to worry that it wasn’t what I wanted. I saw how excited some of my friends were for their internships, and I knew that by volunteering with kids (something I already know I love), I wasn’t going to get any closer to reaching my goal of finding a passion. So, I decided not to do the volunteering. While it wasn’t necessarily a failure, it was definitely something I had to bounce back from. At this point, I was late in the game on my search for an internship, and I worried I would end up with nothing. However, I got grinding and searching, and now I have found something that I LOVE! I am doing a marketing internship with a travel/tourism company; this is right up my alley and will help me decide if marketing is something I want to pursue in the future.

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