The first article of the rest of my life…

… and my last article for Lancer Link

Kaitlyn Olivier, Staff Writer

My aspiration for worldly experience began at the 2010 World Hip Hop Dance Championships. My crew had flown into Las Vegas from San Diego, immediately thrown into the cultural melting pot of the world’s many interpretations of hip hop dance. It was inspiring to see so many dancers from around the world fixated on a single ambition, living their dreams of competing among the world’s best dance crews, eager to seize the world title for the love of their country. All had come from different backgrounds; some had suffered miserably in the midst of inescapable poverty, while others had seen a life so full of wealth and happiness that need was unimaginable. But as we were all gathered in the same place for the same reason, all of our disparities had vanished in light of what had brought us together. That beautiful thing, that passion that burned deep in each and every one of our souls, was dance.

This sense of family was so powerful, so unexplainably right that I made it my mission to discover new ways in which I could create that same feeling. I wanted to expand my knowledge through the immersion of different cultures; I wanted to see more, do more, be more. Simply visiting new places would not be enough; I needed to meet new people and live their lives, celebrate their cultures and traditions, suffer their hardships beside them and grow from my own experiences.

The opportunity to experience different cultures, communities and ways of life is too great to remain in just one corner of the world. Knowing I have access to every continent, every country, every city is enough to make me want to see it all. The way I understand it, we aren’t meant to live our lives independent of unfamiliar people or places; the reason our world is so diverse is so we can share our knowledge and cultural traditions with others whose lives so strikingly differ. The thought of me dying before ever seeing our entire world terrifies me, for the one thing I want from my life is to be able to experience how others live theirs.

I’ve taken a great interest in photography and journalism, knowing that if I pursue this passion of mine in the future, I will surely use my ability to set out and experience the world. I want to connect through others’ life stories, sharing news that will improve the lives of those I encounter. I dream of becoming a National Geographic photojournalist, aspiring to not only expose the worst of our world in the hopes of making a greater change, but also to celebrate our world’s cultural diversity.

This moment in time for many of us is a collection of lasts – our last days in high school with our childhood friends, our last moments of adolescence before we plunge into the deep waters of adulthood, our last glimpses of those with which we’ve grown so incredibly familiar over the years. But these lasts are met with a no less elegant array of beginnings, and it is at this point in time when we can begin to discover the things we’ll do, the places we’ll go, the people we’ll change. My hope is that we all can use this opportunity to take the first step toward making our dreams a reality, leaving a positive impact on the lives of those around us.

What will your legacy be?