The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Isaac Holmes.

“It says I’m a finalist for a gap year.”

I was shopping at Target with my mom when I saw I’d been accepted to UNC. We were taking a trip down to visit another college and had stopped to grab a few things. I was excited, of course, but I’d always seen getting in as an expectation for myself rather than an accomplishment. One of my closest friends was also accepted; she was also admitted to the honors college while I was not. I was disappointed, but my mom reassured me that it was a big deal to have been accepted in the first place.

I left Target with a UNC decal and drink koozie — it was the best merch I could find — and I thought it might cheer me up to have something tangible. We stopped for gas and I looked again at the website. In the space where my honors acceptance would be, I realized I was a finalist for a gap year scholarship. Where it would lead, and what it meant for the future, I did not know.

***

I rolled over the first few mornings I was here in Maine at 5:30 because the sunrise was so early; it is, in fact, one of the first places in the country to see the sunrise. A lot happened between that day in Target and my first “down east” morning. Many hard conversations, trainings, and personal battles, mental and spiritual, occurred to get me here; including an approximately 1500-mile drive.

I would be remiss if I didn’t look back at the people who got me to where I am now. My parents instructed me, my family supported me, the Global Gap year team trained me, and my friends and new acquaintances helped me see and understand things I wouldn’t have without them. God has used all of these people to bring me to what the Wabanaki tribes call the “Dawnland.” When I first heard it called by this name I didn’t think much of it, but in hindsight, it is incredibly apropos. Being here in this place signifies the dawn of a new age of life; the beginning of the end from a more pessimistic view, but the opening of many doors of opportunity from a more accurate one.

I cannot say precisely what the future holds, and I expect it to be ripe with adversity, but I know for certain I will not be alone in it.