Article by: Sebastien Gentil (UWC AC ’15 – ’17)
Nita Ambani, an Indian businesswoman said: Education is not a tool for development – individual, community and the nation. It is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams.” As UWCers, we make “Education a force to unite the people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. To do so, there are many choices we have to make. I have made many wrong choices in my life. I now know that the biggest mistakes I have ever made for my future were at the beginning of my UWC/Atlantic College experience. At the beginning, we have to choose our subjects, our activities, our Faculty and service. The choices you make about UWC start before we even arrive. The fact that you choose to go to a UWC is one of the biggest choices you will ever make in your life. However I am not here to talk about the choices you make before UWC but those you make when you are finally there. There are so many of them you have to make when you arrive. Academically, you have to choose your subjects, your Faculty, your service. I know I made a big mistake when I first chose my Faculty. When I first arrived, I saw everybody having fun and I thought that Atlantic College was a place to have fun and to change the world. I joined the Outdoor Faculty because I thought it was the place I would have the most fun while changing the world. I was going to become a lifeguard. However, it was not for me. I had forgotten why I had joined the UWC movement. I had forgotten who I was. I had come to Atlantic College to be able to make a change and do some good in the world while having fun. However, every service changes the world in a different way. I wanted to get involved in other world changing activities than those done in the outdoor faculty. It was difficult for me to admit to myself that I had made a mistake. When I finally did, I changed my Faculty and went somewhere that is more “for me”. I remembered who I was and what I had come to do here.
What I am trying to say and what I would like to say to the future generations of UWCers is to make the different choices you are to make during your UWC experience, you have to know yourself. You have to understand who you are and why you have decided to join the movement and the mission. You are foremost accepting a mission when you join, you must never lose sight of who you are to make the most of it. Your life is defined by the choices you make. Choosing to join UWC is the biggest and greatest choice you will ever make. Whilst you are here, make the most of it by then continuing on making the right choices.