Get to know Carly Landgraf! Carly is a junior who just got into her major of communication disorders! She also spent her summer studying abroad in South Africa. She was nominated by her friend, Kayla Mullis, who said, "Carly is such a hard-working, classy lady and makes each person she comes in contact with feel special! She is such a wonderful and caring friend and has been there for me when I needed friends the most. Everyone needs a Carly in their life!"
Why did you choose communication disorders?
"Well, if I am being completely honest, I did not go into freshman year thinking I wanted to be in communication disorders. I didn’t even know what it was. My freshman-self thought I had my whole life planned out. I was going to be a physical therapist, go to grad school and then own my own practice. I laugh at myself thinking about this as a junior. Boy, was I so wrong! Sophomore year, an event that my friends know as the “cat lab incident” (LOL) really opened my eyes and made me realize I was forcing myself to do something that was not meant for me. If you know me, you know I hate making decisions, mostly because I am terrified of making the wrong one. The thought of changing my major going into my junior year terrified me. In the back of my mind, I just had to remind myself that whatever the Lord had in store for me was ultimately far better than anything I could imagine for myself. I talked to a lot of older girls in CMDS and decided that with my passion for people, it would be the perfect fit for me! I applied ONE day before the application was due and found out that I got into the program a few months later! I learned that it was pointless to live in fear of making the wrong decision because if you walk through anything with the right heart, God’s will will be done."
Tell us about your trip to South Africa!
"I could talk about South Africa forever!!! It stretched me to lengths that I did not know I could reach. Whether it was bungee jumping, diving with great white sharks, skydiving, or repelling down a mountain, I was pushed out of my comfort zone for sure! The “study” part of this study abroad trip may have impacted me the most. In the classes we took, we learned about our specific leadership traits and skills. I learned about my strengths and how to use them daily. Studying abroad was the perfect opportunity to not only check off my bucket list and see a whole new part of the world, but now I have this great community of people who I can continue to adventure with. I returned home transformed by incredible memories, authentic friends, genuine confidence and a renewed purpose. There is not a moment I would have traded for the world. It was a life changing experience that I will remember and cherish forever!!"
What was the highlight of your trip?
"The highlight of my trip was the week of service we did in a township called Sir Lowry’s Pass. The first day of service was an eye opener. We learned about how we use our “American lens” when visiting foreign places. When something appears broken at first glance, it is human nature to want to help and fix it to make things better. Instead of trying to “fix” things with materialistic items, we wanted to learn about their culture and the things they loved about it. Service learning includes personal relationships with those in the community, reflection of time spent, and giving of things more than just material items. Playing with the kids, spending time with the families, sharing stories about our lives. That’s the kind of service we got to take part in!! We talked about importance of loving others, being bold and truly yourself, and that attitude is everything. From my time in Sir Lowry’s Pass, I learned that it’s the people you surround yourself with that can make any situation feel like the best of times or the worst of times. I learned that even if you think you have nothing to give, you can give so much by loving people and getting to know them."
What would you tell someone thinking about studying abroad?
"DO IT DO IT DO IT!!! Find that place you are passionate about, that place that makes your heart come alive, and go for it!!! Take a leap of faith, and don't be afraid to jump into the unknown. Live BIGGER. Live BOLDER. Let curiosity be your guide and allow yourself to be pushed out of your comfort zone. I promise you may just have the best experience of your life!!"
"AOII in the simplest of words is constant. Being a part of this group of girls has brought me so much joy in experiencing what raw, real, and constant friendship truly is. I have never been asked to fit into a certain mold in AOII, rather it is a place where I get to be the most true version of myself. I am encouraged to be the best I can be, and I know I have the support surrounding me to do just this. It is a place where I feel celebrated and oh so loved. I wouldn’t trade these friendships for anything in the world!!!" -Carly Landgraf