June 20, 2019

Abi’s Thoughts as the Australia Trip Approaches…

Only a Few Weeks to Go!!

Eighteen days. As of today (June 16th), there are only eighteen more days until I fly from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia to attend the International Science School. And to be completely honest, I’m getting a bit nervous. Excited too, but definitely nervous. How could I not be? I have been fortunate enough to represent the United States along with four other students on a different continent. This trip is bizarre and nerve racking, but it’s also pretty incredible. Bizarre in the sense that for two weeks I’m going to be a few thousand miles from home surrounded by some of the smartest students in the world, but also incredible for the same reasons. It almost seems too good to be true.
Just yesterday, I attended a vast family gathering to celebrate a relative of mine, and it didn’t take me long to pick up on a reoccurring pattern within the conversations with my family members. Everytime I stopped to talk to someone, they found a way to weave in something about space, or NASA, or some sort of science. Whether they saw a post on facebook about me attending Go For Launch! or heard from another relative that I was going to Australia, everyone was so excited for me and wanted to hear what “new cool sciency thingy” I’ve been working on (As my great aunt put it). And it was this weekend that I realized that these opportunities I have been lucky enough to have been a part of, have impacted and inspired more people than just myself. That realization has left me even more excited for the International Science School in a few weeks. I hope that this program creates the same, if not a greater, feeling of pride and excitement that my past involvements with Higher Orbits have.
This whole experience is quickly becoming a reality though as I start making packing lists and informing myself of the culture and weather of Australia. But it’s more than just packing toiletries and buying clothes that is making me comprehend that in 18 days I’ll be on my way to a different country, but the fact that I am now surrounded by my own team of brilliant nerdy friends. The five of us US students have grown closer these past few weeks and we all have an energy about ourselves that creating a growing feeling of adventure and thrill for what we are all about to experience together. Higher Orbits has brought together a diverse couple of kids and created a commonality around excitement for STEM and this amazing program in Sydney. We have all become friends and I can’t wait to meet them in person as well as the other students attending ISS2019!
To wrap this all up, I want to say how grateful I am to be apart of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m just a freckled face redhead from a small town in Arizona, but I’m now also a representative getting ready to go on trip I could have only dreamed of. I’ve found myself in the constant state of awe and excitement, and it’s only eighteen more days until I’m on a plane to possibly the greatest two weeks of my young adult life. #HigherOrbitsInAustralia 🇦🇺

Written by Abigail Youngker

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