BALI // Why I'm Taking A Semester Off of School to Volunteer in Bali

By the looks of that title, you probably already guessed my life update -- I've decided to take a leave of absence from school this semester to volunteer teaching English in Bali. 


Trust me, I feel the same way. Two weeks ago I would have never guessed that I'd be traveling any further than the 20-minute drive to campus this fall, much less a 30-hour flight across the world. But, as one of my closest friends put it, "Stef, you're not the most conventional person, so this really isn't that much of a surprise." Maaaaybe there's a hint of truth in that 😜

Jetting off alone to volunteer in Bali for a semester might make zero sense to some. It's way against the grain. It's incredibly last minute. But hey, I'm finally listening to my soul, and taking action in the direction its pointing me.

Finally, I'm listening to myself

I've always had this intuitive feeling that after spending two years at Wash U I'd have some sort of shift in my school plans, yet I had no clue what that would be.

It's not that anything has been terribly wrong at school. In fact, it's all seemed pretty perfect from the outside -- I love my friends, I'm involved on campus, my classes go well, and I truly enjoy learning. But internally, I've had this inexplicable feeling that just something ain't right at the moment. 

This feeling is a knowing that I'm here to learn something that cannot be taught in a classroom. It's a feeling that I need to gain a broader perspective on things, rather than just following along the "traditional" route of school. The problem was I never listened to that gut feeling -- until now.

plus, after being sick with just about every 

My Turning Point

About two weeks ago I hit a point where I realized that I've just been going through the motions with school, rather than truly understanding and enjoying where I am. Everything for the past two years has moved so crazy quickly - study, go out, sleep (if time allows), repeat - and my body is telling me it's time to take a step back. 

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in following these preset paths by society just because they're the "norm." We think school and to look a certain way and if we stray from that path then we're automatically failures, freaks, or whatever. This is an illusion.

Really, there is no "one size fits all" for life. Every single human will have a different path because every single human is unique. And that's beautiful. 

It makes zero sense to live according to someone else's plans. Like Actually zero. Zilch. Nada. 

It's kinda funny, if you think about it (ok maybe that's just me??). No one ever has a clue what they're doing here on earth. And if no one ever has a clue, who am I to follow willingly in their footsteps? It's one aimless traveler following the next. ZERO. SENSE. 

I might not have it all figured out, but I do know I am on this planet to create the life that I want to live, spread some love, and empower others to do the same. In order to do that, I have to start by first having the courage to listen to my Self over anyone else.

One semester of my life is TINY in the grand scheme of things, so my mentality is why not? Being a treacher is somehing I always dreamed of as a little kiddo, so maybe this is my chance to fulfill a bit of this passion. 


The only person that can truly tell you the next right step for you is YOU. Not your parents, not your friends, not your peers, not society, not the Dali Lama. It's on YOU

It's up to YOU to tune in to yourself, hook up to the Universe, and listen to your internal cues.

It's up to YOU to forge your own way.

It's up to YOU to take action towards your future.

Imma accept that challenge and take my life into my own hands. Of course I'll be finishing school and going back to Wash U, but for now, I'm headed out on this crazy, love-filled, exciting-yet-wtf-am-I-doing kinda adventure. :) 


All my love,

XO Stef