Gap Year Gives Students the Option to Explore Other Interests
The shift between high school and college is no doubt a large one, one of the largest most people experience in their lives. It is the transformation from childhood to adulthood, and oftentimes, once college is over, there is no free time to fulfill the dreams and crazy ideas that someone may have fantasized about all their life.
For Alona Bach, a Berkeley High School alumna and soon to be Harvard student, the best way to achieve the things she has dreamed of doing was by taking a gap year. A gap year is a break from academia after high school and before college, in which the possibilities are endless.
“If you’re interested in learning more about other countries or cultures, travel.” Bach stated, “If you need structure in order to enjoy time off, apply for a gap year program or an interesting job/volunteer opportunity near home. If you have ideas or projects that you’ve been wanting to do all through high school, take a year off and do them!”
This past year, Bach has been working on what seem to be dozens of amazing theater projects, for example, the non-profit organization Up Next, which facilitates teen theater attendance. She also helped start the new company Little Opera, an all–kids opera company in San Francisco where a talented, excited, and diverse group of kids aged six to ten wrote, composed, designed and performed their own original opera. In addition, Bach wrote a short play that was chosen to be performed in the Still Waters Festival. “I was able to sit in on a rehearsal and see professional actors interpret my text for only the second time in my life — what an exciting and terrifying thing!”
Although many who take a gap year decide to apply for college once they are near the end of their time away from school, Bach found it much easier and less stressful to apply to college during senior year and, once accepted, defer. Bach deferred her acceptance by requesting to postpone her entrance to the school to take time away for a gap year.
“To anyone who may be considering a gap year, I’d recommend applying to college in senior year and then deferring your admittance. The year off will be infinitely less stressful if you don’t have the pressure of applying to college or not knowing where you’ll end up.”
It is true that taking a gap year may trigger a nervous feeling when finally preparing to return to school after such an extended amount of time.
“I’m a bit worried I won’t remember how to study for tests or write essays or solve math problems,” confesses Bach. In addition, “It can also be a bit hard to watch your friends go through freshman year and have all of these experiences that are still a mystery to you, such as having roommates, or going to a professor’s office hours.”
However, taking a gap year is sure to open up new experiences that might not have otherwise been possible. “I found it refreshing to breathe, to stop, to figure out what I wanted to be doing... I’m going into college with a much clearer idea of what I want my post-college life to be like, with a much clearer head, with a much healthier mind.”