It was October 2021 when I took my first university classes. After a long year of studying for my final exams to the point it seemed pointless, I had finally succeeded . At least that’s what everyone around me was implying. After all, it’s one of the most crucial parts of your life, getting into uni. Right?
Is it though? Because i wasn’t feeling like it. I was drained, mentally and physically from this process of having to drop almost every aspect of my personal life just to study for 4 classes and pass an exam. My summer after that was amazing but there was one thing playing with my mind. Had I picked the right university department for me?
Back to October 2021, two weeks into my classes, whilst everyone around me was excited with this “new experience”, I was doubting my choice every minute of the day. I felt the same stress I was feeling during my exams and of course I could not handle it. Regret is not a feeling I am quite fond of. I wanted to be sure about my uni studies. So I took a gap year to clear my mind. Live a little bit. Or maybe not.
The first weeks were not pleasant. Constant doubts flooded my mind from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. Everyone was telling me “You’re losing a year of your life for nothing. You should have continued and gone with the flow, in case you changed your mind again and liked it”. Then November came along and things got worse. I didn’t have a dream school in mind, a dream profession, generally, a dream. As days went by, it became more and more difficult for me to find the courage to do the things I had always loved. Everything seemed vain. At least everything society had made me believe was within my choices.
But then, amidst this whole darkness in my head, this vanity that had conquered my mind, a small sign of hope showed itself. As if I had opened Pandora’s box this whole time. There was this short-term volunteering project in Spain, organised by the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). And I remember thinking: “ They probably won’t take me in but I’ll apply, I haven’t got anything to lose anyways”.
At that moment, everything shifted. Suddenly, I had a goal. I had something to look forward to, something that really appealed to my interests, since I’ve always wanted to volunteer and help society in whichever way I can. I just didn’t know where to start.
This could be my starting point, if they accepted me, I thought.
And that’s exactly what happened. They reached back to me for an interview and then confirmed my application. I remember seeing the confirmation email and losing my mind. For some reason, I thought erasmus+ and ECS projects are really difficult to get in, which is not the case. All you need to have is a strong will to participate, take initiatives and of course, have fun. Something like “meraki” as we say in Greek:)
I had my doubts, I overthink a lot if you haven’t figured that one out yet. The first week I was anxious and afraid. Am I gonna live up to the challenge? What if I cannot handle it mentally? Am I making a mistake here? Well friendly advice: don’t be like me. Two weeks in, I realised there is literally nothing to be afraid of. Changing your living space might stress you out a little bit, as it would in any trip, but that is all. Everything else is just a dream come true. The vibes here are so calming, the tasks we do everyday are super interesting and not tiring at all. I have been here for only 3 weeks and I have learned so many things, from exploring other cultures to being informed about how to start an NGO or work on social media management, or planting crops and the list goes on and on and on…
Frankly, I’ve found a purpose. Not just for the two months I’ll be here. But for the rest of my life. Thinking outside of society’s narrow standards, I have a vision of helping people in any way I can, bringing about change ,starting from small communities and then moving onto bigger-scale projects. Because the people here have shown me it’s possible. They have provided me with the “tools” and the “basic structure” needed to initiate all types of projects by myself. They have inspired me and motivated me not only to work on my community, but also on myself. Hell, I’ve cleared my mind so much in this intellectual environment that I have now found the uni department I really want to study in. Everything has just fallen into place, and believe me, if that’s the case for me it could be the same for everyone. I ain’t no prodigy kid. I am just an 18-year-old wanting to live their life in a way it’s worth living.
So , in short, after opening my heart to you, I strongly recommend you take a look at these opportunities. They will offer you a life-changing experience and broaden your mind. But above everything else, they will bring you closer to unforgettable people. To a family.
And I am fortunate enough to be in one. Globers Family:)
P.S. If you are looking for such game-changing experiences you can check out our fb: www.facebook.com/globers.net and instagram:www.instagram.com/we_are_globers , we post daily!