As my GAP experience is coming to an end, I feel compelled to write about how it’s affected me as a person and reflect on my journey thus far….
To my fault, I came into GAP with very specific expectations, not because I was oblivious to the reality, but because I didn’t calculate and analyze the environment and situation as well as I normally would have. I just jumped with joy and got on board without thinking twice. I personally selected Scotts France as my # 1 project out of 11 choices for many reasons and was ecstatic to get in!
To clarify, this experience has been extremely challenging. I have been drug so far out of my comfort zone that I barely recognize my starting point. I have learned so much and as a result, feel that I have grown as a person and more importantly as a being. My senses have been heightened and my emotional state stretched thin. It is a roller coaster ride of joy, fear, sadness, longing, happiness and anger. In 3 short weeks, I have undeniably realigned my priorities in life!
On an intellectual level, I was pleasantly surprised to work with a diverse group with various backgrounds and areas of expertise. I don’t know that I necessarily fit into any one mold, as I have always been the “Jane” of all trades and expert of none. My diverse background both educationally and professionally as well as socially and culturally made me the odd “Woman” out. This alone was a challenge given that I am spending 3 full weeks, day and day out with the same 5 people.
Having a roommate was an interesting experience as well. I have always lived alone and never had to share a bathroom let alone a less than 200 sq ft room. As adaptable as I have believed myself to be, this was a bit rough at first until we learned each other’s behaviors and adjusted accordingly.
Observing the team and seeing growth on so many levels with many of my peers has been eye opening. To see the quiet one become very opinionated or to see a natural born leader take the back seat was surprising. Those who were timid became territorial and those who were stubborn learned to compromise. When survival instincts kick in, you’d be amazed to see yourself transform overnight. I too have changed.
Reuniting with a childhood friend, who was like a twin sister to me, was overwhelming. This feeling of having missed someone for so long only to learn that you would see them again was both joyous and frightening. Fear left my body the moment I saw her as we immediately were able to pick up right where we left off all these years ago. Now I am overwhelmed with sadness for leaving as I am not sure when the next chance to reunite again would be.
I have never felt this homesick before. Growing up, I moved a lot, changed schools and moved continents and thus never had a sense of belonging or a place I considered home… until Columbus, Ohio. Being away for 3 full weeks has been really tough. It’s just a feeling I haven’t experienced before and was an interesting one to deal with. Now that I do have a home, missing it made me once again revisit my priorities, especially when it comes to career choices.
Another thing I take pride in is the deep connection I make with a selective few and the strong bond I form with them. Relationships are very important to me and thus I made sure to keep them alive to the best of my means. I know some people view each stage in their life as a phase, and as you pass through, you make friends and then once you start a new chapter, all that was goes away, along with those relationships and you move on. That’s how I felt too. I never thought in a million years that by keeping in touch via social media I would really get to reunite with a childhood friend, and now that I have, these relationships became all the more important to me.
So where am I going with all this? Ah yes, the realignment of my priorities. Those did change… I have changed. I am simply trying to go through life without any regrets!
As this journey comes to an end, I guess I just had a stream of thoughts and feeling that I wanted to share to shed some light into this whole experience. It’s not all candy and butterflies; there were tough moments, thrilling moments, scary moments, sad moments, happy moments and all very challenging ones. I am exhausted both mentally and emotionally.
I am very happy to be leaving this chapter behind, but thanks to this invigorating journey, I will never be the same!