I had it all figured out. Every last detail.
I was going to withdraw from Elon for Spring Semester my sophomore year, and apply to work with an international service program in Mombasa, Kenya. Pretty much my DREAM experience, I would be volunteering at a community center for street kids in the slum half of an otherwise overly developed resort area on Kenya's coast. I went to the registrar's office and the career center to work out the logistics, and to ensure that I would still graduate in May of '08 if I took one semester off. I was excited with anticipation, and was wishing I could fast forward to my time overseas.
For some reason, however, I wanted one last piece of advise, so I approached one of my trusty Human Services professors for her opinions. I pulled out my degree audit, my list of anticipated courses, the project guidelines and expectations, and overwhelmed her with my proactive thinking... She looked at me, complimented my plans and ambition, and was genuinely excited about my plan. I could tell she was holding out on me, when she finally said, "Katie, I know you. I know your heart, and I know your goals. If you go and spend a semester out changing the world, you won't want to come back to Elon..."
And with that brief comment of truth and reality, everything changed. I knew she was right. It WAS my dream job. I would be working with the children that the world forgot about, and I know that once I was there, my "cushy" life in the Elon Bubble would seem so petty and trivial. Almost like it wouldn't matter to the whole picture. And to those children living on the streets of Kenya, it wouldn't matter. But to me, years from now, it would matter. I knew that if I stayed at Elon, completed my degree, and THEN set out on my international and domestic crusades, I would almost have it all. I would be better equipped to better the lives of others, and all it would take was another couple of years...
So, I've known that I would be finishing a semester early for a couple of years now, but all of the sudden, ITS HERE. I'm done with college. In just over a week I will be packing up the car to spend three months serving as a city host for a group called Center for Student Missions. I will have the unique experience of combining my love for youth with my passions for service and urban outreach, and I couldn't be more excited. But what is even more incredible, is the idea that this is really just the beginning of it all. 3 months is nothing compared to the next couple of years in the Peace Corps, and after that, the rest of my life. I CAN'T WAIT!