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2018 was quite a year for me.

The beginning of this year, I was volunteering in chilly Cusco, Peru, brushing up on some Spanish and semi-working at a party hostel. I had spent New Years in Cartagena, Colombia, where I danced the night away while the fireworks erupted above. My money was quickly dwindling, and I had barely scraped enough cash to book a plane ticket back to the USA in time for my cousin’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid, and no matter where I was in the world, I made sure I was going to be there for her.

I had spent the last two years hopping from plane to plane, doing odd-jobs only to spend it all the next few weeks. To me, this was the ideal life. I had always loved jumping from place to place, and I loved never being tied down to anything. However, when I returned back home, it seemed like everyone had their lives together – except me.

My cousin was getting married. My sister was applying to college. My other cousins had all graduated, and were working well-paying jobs in big cities. My aunt had another child. My uncle was finishing up medical school. Meanwhile, I had made no concrete, big steps towards my own goals while in the pursuit of finding myself, I realized that I was actually running away from reality this entire time.

I asked my mother to help me with college. I finished out a few more months in South America before I made the final move back home. It was almost surreal being fully integrated back in the United States, since it was the first time I had stayed in one singular place in a while. However, it helped me understand one big thing – adventure is what you make of it.

I used to think that climbing mountains and diving in oceans and jetting from country to country was the only definition of “adventure”, but that could not be more wrong. Adventure simply means stepping out of your comfort zone – whether it be trying a new restaurant, taking a new, interesting class, or trying a new workout thing. In other words, adventure is simply whatever makes you happy.

I’ve been blessed to have had many amazing adventures in 2018, which included hiking Machu Picchu and enrolling in my first ever college class. In 2019, I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone, whether it be big or small. Happy end-of-semester MC! See you in 2019!

Annika La Vina

My name is Annika La Vina (pronounced like Monica without the M). I am 20 years old, and I am currently a new student at MC. I love all kinds of sports and am super into fitness - catch me running on the side of Rockville Pike on a sunny day! In addition, I love reading and writing and have been an avid writer since elementary school. I dabble in all kinds of major writing forms - fictional, academic and now, blogging!
After high school, I traveled and worked around the world for two years. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, but most of all, it was rewarding. Not only did I experience new cultures and meet tons of people, I also realized several things about myself - the most important being that I needed to go back to school.
It’s frightening - super frightening actually - to embark on a new stage in life. However, you’re not alone. Join me in my newest, weirdest, scariest, most exciting adventure yet - college!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I enjoyed this post Annika, because even though adventure and a change of pace is good, sometimes in the ‘running’, young people have their youth pass them by while losing the time to build a foundation to make a good life in the future. I see a trend now – maybe it is a fad – where young people have to bounce around from place to place, posting Instagram pics of their adventures, but where does it get you in the end? I think it is wonderful that you got that chance; I am sure you will never regret it, but I am glad you decided to rejoin the “real world” and put your life on a trajectory that will sustain you. You are a smart girl to have recognized this.

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