My name is Jeremiah, but everyone simply calls me Andre. I am a member of the first group that 360+ took on this wonderful and exciting trip to India. A few tips to remember when going on this trip are that this is a travel opportunity, not a vacation; open-mindedness is essential; and you will probably never receive another opportunity to go on a trip that will be as fun and as difficult as this one. You will be tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but you won’t want it to end. You will meet people people from all over the United States, but they won’t seem so different from you. Now that the surface has been scratched, I have two questions: What is fear, and are you afraid of being afraid? Depending on how you answer these questions, you will know whether or not to press “send” or stop applying right now. I had to face these same questions when it was almost time to leave, and I almost didn’t take advantage of this opportunity because I realized I was afraid of being afraid. However, thanks to the support of my friends and a black mother who was gonna get me here whether I liked it or not, I came. I’ll even share my answrs with you so you can get more of a sense of how you should answer these questions.
Fear is growing up in a neighborhood where gunshots are your lullaby and police sirens are you rnight light. Where you have a 50/50 chance of making it home safely if you’re out when the street lights are on. Where the park is no longer a place for children, but for grown men with drugs to sell, liquor to drink , or basketball to play. Growing up in East Baltimore, other kids my age and I quickly learned the golden rule: Don’t let the streets know you’re afraid. We learned that putting up a façade of nonchalance could be the difference between a safe walk home and an unwanted confrontation. And so, at the young age of six, I learned to quote FDR, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” However, being on this trip has opened my eyes to what “being afraid” really means. “Being afraid,” as I’ve come to understand, means exposing yourself and giving something or someone the power to change you. Being a psychology major, I am interested in following the patterns of the human behavior, and I’ve noticed that most people are vulnerable when they are afraid. Bit people also seek the most comfort or support when they are afraid. The other 360+ travelers and I were afraid at somepoint during this trip, and I believe this is why we were able to build such strong bonds in only 3 weeks. Going to India, were scared and didn’t have anyone but each other and the counselors. Like plants, we were “uprooted” from the US soil we knew and forced to grown outside our comfort zones; however, we grew with each other and so our roots became intertwined and brought us closer. I used this analogy to help explain what this will do. It will take you out of your comfort zone and force you to grow with those around you because they’re all you have. So, speaking from experience, I implore you to embrace this fear and expose yourself to everything that this trip offers because by doing so, you will grow as a person. The things you see, hear, and feel will affect you on a much deeper level, and you will make friends along the way that will hopefully stay with you forever. This trip has helped me overcome my fear of being vulnerable. At first, I was afraid of being vulnerable because where I’m from vulnerability is weakness. I was able to overcome this by growing and learning to trust my 360+ family. This experience has been a transformative process that will help me a better and more well-rounded person. I wish all those who are applying the best of luck and that your experience will be as life changing as mine was.