The American public, so captivated and overjoyed by Smart's safe return, has also marveled as the shy teenager they first saw rescued in 2003 has emerged into the poised, well-spoken young adult she is today.
"Recovery is different for every individual," Smart said of her transition back. "For me, my mom pointed out that I could live in the past and hold on to what this man did to me, or I could choose to not give another minute of my life to this man and do what I want to do. That was the path I chose." After graduating from high school in Salt Lake City, Smart enrolled as a music student at Brigham Young University and, most recently, spent 18 months in France on a mission in accordance with her Mormon faith and involvement in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Smart returned from her mission in April and is headed back to Brigham Young to complete her bachelor's degree in music. She begins her senior year in the fall.
"I certainly have come a very long way from June of 2003," Smart told "GMA." "I try to always be looking forward and have hope for the future."
Smart will remain based in Utah as she begins her new position with ABC News.
For more information on the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, visit their website: www.elizabethsmartfoundation.org.
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