Name: Mary Hannah Popek
Hometown: Houston, TX
College: University of Oklahoma
Major: Biology and Psychology
One Interesting Fact About You: I am adopted and I have a relationship with my birth mother and her family. It has been such an adventure getting to know them and going from being an only child to having an older brother and a younger sister. I had always wanted a little sister, and now I have one and I get to watch her grow up! She’s 11 and my brother is 26.
Why Did You Sign-up For Compass? I signed up for Compass because deep down I knew that I wasn’t spiritually strong enough to go off to college. While at first, I genuinely had no interest in taking a year off of school, over time I realized that the Lord had placed the desire in my heart to press pause on school. The learning that I needed to do wasn’t anything that could be accomplished at a University, but rather by being pushed emotionally and spiritually in a loving community.
This time next year what do you want to say about your Gap Year Experience?I want to be able to say that I grew exponentially. When I think of all of the things I could bring out of this experience, my growth into a strong Christian leader is my ultimate goal. I want to be able to say that I came out of this year with the ability to live with scripture and faith as the foundation of all that I do.
What would you say to someone considering taking a gap year? I would say that you need to be prepared for it to be hard. You won’t be happy all of the time, because you wouldn’t be learning anything if you were. You’ll be pushed and stretched in ways that you didn’t know existed, you’ll form community, and most importantly you’ll learn to lean on what matters most: The Lord.