S Is for Siblings, Study Abroad and Social Justice

 “[I]f something is telling you to go somewhere, the first step is to simply ‘say yes’.” ~ Gavin Furrey

This academic year has been the first in many years when I haven’t taught. Pivoting to working full-time at home has been the right decision for many reasons, but I do miss one aspect of the classroom: regular contact with young adults.

The current 20-something generation is, in my experience, hopeful, open, engaging, creative and smart—far from stereotypes set forth in popular millennial bashing.

Consider, for example, Anna and Gavin, my niece and nephew. Only about one year apart in age, they grew up as fast friends and sources of mutual support (kudos to their parents).

Anna is a student at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. One of her most recent published stories is about a Northern Arizona University student who, as a junior, has already spent four semesters studying internationally in Paris and Montréal, even in the face of discouragement from professors and advisors who thought he was too young. That student is her brother Gavin:

“Looking back, I realize that I made it into the right choice for me.” [Gavin] Furrey said, “I decided it was what I wanted to do, and because of that I gained incredible experiences and growth in Paris, and still had time to squeeze in a year in Montréal.”

Once he graduates in spring of 2017 at NAU, he aspires to go back to Montréal to complete a masters degree in international development at McGill University.

“I would like to work for an international non-governmental organization,” Furrey said, “specifically one that attends to refugee crises or human rights violations.” Read more

As many of us enter our second adulthood, we can look to those entering their first adulthood for inspiration for how to say “yes” to life’s opportunities and refusing to be defined by others’ expectations.

SThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!

2 thoughts on “S Is for Siblings, Study Abroad and Social Justice

  1. This post really resonated for me. Years ago, long before same-sex marriage had much support, my partner and I had a union ceremony. We were leaving our past lives not totally behind, but certainly moving into the unknown. For a celebration one needs cake and so we found someone who made us a wonderful cake with a rainbow across it and the words “Yes to Life.”

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