Fatima Verona (July 31, 2019): The Vision (Gap Year Blog #1)

Hello!My name is Fatima Verona, and I’m a 17-year-old Jesus-loving and optimistic philonoist.

Truth be told before 2019 I would have never fathomed taking a gap year. It was just not an option to me, considering I loved entertaining the idea of going to college as soon as possible, finding my ‘calling’ in the swarm of topics that interest me, and reaching a currently developing goal that’s hazily sitting in my mind and labeled my life mission. Yet, when I least expected it, I received an email that changed my mind in a matter of minutes. Crazy, right? Well, I would say I’m just impulsive like that, but it’d be a half-lie if I merely blamed myself.

I was in Costa Rica, sitting in my abuelita’s rocking chair when in big, bold letters an opportunity to become an FSU Gap Year Fellow was presented to me. The $5000 aid drew my attention, yet I didn’t think I would apply at first glance. After reading into the program more carefully and mentally deciding that perhaps staying six months or more in a place like Costa Rica would be great however, I immediately worked on the application. Although I understand that this entire year off from school is my gap year (and I mean to make the most of every second of it) the big, life-altering trip I intend to take for it is still being planned for.

I’m currently working a job of which every cent I earn goes towards my future academics and primarily my trip. I hope to go to Portugal sometime in early January, and in the meantime, I’ve been making good use of any free time I get by studying the Portuguese language and culture. I found programs that focus on helping local organizations fight food waste and instructing children in Lisbon that sound amazing, and I’m thrilled to continue corresponding with the leaders of the program I chose. The last time I called them, which was about a week ago, they shared they’ve never had anyone stay with them for so long, so between now and the time that I leave next year they’ll help me create a customized schedule including other volunteer projects that lean more towards what I want to explore career-wise. Afterward, I plan on attending Florida State University in the fall of 2020 — go ‘Noles!

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