In a Different Direction

Ashley Fox takes on Indonesia and Carson Franklin embarks on a mission trip

Valerie Hajek and Julia Elder, Staff Writers

Ashley Fox

Many students head straight to college after high school, but senior Ashley Fox will be traveling another path.  After hearing the recommendations of her brother’s good friend, Ashley decided that taking a half gap year this fall semester to travel to Indonesia would be a perfect fit for her.

She will be participating in the “Where There Be Dragons” study abroad trip, where she will leave for three months to study developmental issues on the islands of Indonesia. This trip combines the opportunity to have a focused mentorship and to study different cultures.

Outdoor activities play  an important role in Ashley’s life, which is another reason why this trip to Indonesia is so attractive to her. From a four-week home-stay in Yogyakarta to camping on crater rims during volcano treks to a six-week internship at Java, she is excited to experience these fun adventures.

Before Ashley takes off for Indonesia, she will be participating in LOOK3: Festival of the Photograph. LOOK3’s mission is to “celebrate the vision of extraordinary photographers, ignite conversations about critical issues, and foster the next generation of artists.”

Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer, will be in charge of the festival, which will feature endangered species with twenty or fewer organisms remaining in existence. These photos will be displayed on the Downtown Mall.

After her trip to Indonesia, Ashley will attend Middlebury College in Vermont. From the first time she visited, Ashley fell in love with Middlebury. “Middlebury is a small liberal arts school with an amazing environment that fits me perfectly.” Ashley is deeply interested in science and is planning on majoring in chemistry. Art is also very enjoyable to her, so she wants to minor in art. It’s clear that Ashley’s first year out of high school will consist of various experiences that will broaden her mindset on the world. 

Carson Franklin

In terms of new and different experiences, Carson Franklin may take the cake.

Just weeks after his graduation, Carson will leave Charlottesville for two years. And two years means just that. He will not be returning to Charlottesville until those years are over. This is because Carson is going on a mission to Portland, Oregon through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “In other words, I’m Mormon,” he says.

Choosing to go on a mission was not an easy decision for Carson.“It took me a long time to decide whether or not to go on a mission. I was concerned about playing lacrosse in college and having to choose between one or the other.”

Luckily for Carson, a few schools offered him the opportunity to do both.

Carson has now committed to play lacrosse at Southern Virginia University, starting in 2016. Before his freshman year of college, Carson will donate two years of his life to service in Portland.

“My job is basically to be an official representative of the Church. I’ll be doing mostly service and teaching people about Jesus and all that good stuff,” he says.

He will not be allowed to bring his cell phone, watch TV, or listen to certain music. He can communicate with friends and family only on Mondays, and only through e-mails or letters. While these rules may seem harsh to a generation dependent on its mobile devices, Carson recognizes that “the purpose of the rules is to be completely focused on the work.”

Although Carson is doing something completely different than other seniors, his emotions about the experience sum up what many of his fellow graduates are feeling right now.

 “I’m excited to get out there and experience everything, but on the other hand, leaving everything behind for two years is scary to almost anyone.”