To be completely honest, I guess a more apt title for this would be ‘Why I, Personally, as Lynn, Should Take a Gap Year’ But hopefully this’ll be able to provide some iota of advice, inspiration, or even dissuasion for any of you who are potentially interested in taking a gap year yourselves.
1. I really need a break from school.
High school destroyed me. I’m still recovering from the first 2/3 of my senior year, where everything was college applications and essays and how-will-i-make-it-big-itis. I’ve never been great at school, and while I’m aware that university is different and generally exponentially better than high school, gosh, I just need to not deal with that kind of pressure right now. [Of course, I have to go to French language classes as part of my visa requirement, but that’s different.]
Still, it’s hard not to feel left out at times, as ridiculous as that sounds. Half of my friends are picking out classes and meeting their new roommates, and here I am, looking up Korean grocery stores in Paris so I can get comfort food.
2. I want to see more of the world.
I would consider myself fairly well-traveled for someone my age, and as the child of immigrants, I’ve always sort of had one foot in two completely different cultures. That’s given me an edge that a lot of Americans don’t have–I’ve pretty much had to be open-minded since birth.
Still, there’s a lot I don’t know about other cultures and ways of life and travel itself, and I want to explore those things during my time in France.
3. My languages are a focus.
Since my current goal is to eventually work with the UN, my general rule of thumb has been ‘the more languages, the better.’ I speak Korean and English, albeit questionably at times, but I’ve also been studying French for a number of years, and have loved the language since I signed up for the class freshman year. Unfortunately, I had to stop after French II, but I’ve been [sort of] self-studying ever since. Either way, my French is definitely not up to the par I want it to be, and if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’ll learn best when forced to assimilate to a new way of life.
4. I want to learn more about myself.
I’m going to go ahead and admit it: I don’t know where I’m going in life. I’ve steadfastly been telling everyone curious enough to ask that I want to major in International Relations and work at the UN, but do I really? When I was applying to schools, every single application I sent in marked Drama as my major – except for NYU, because I didn’t have the guts to apply to Tisch and potentially lose out on my dream school. I love acting, but I also want to be practical, and so my plan is to keep my passion on the side. For now. I’m hoping a bit of distance from those issues and time to discover more about myself will help put me on the ‘right’ path, whatever that may be.
5. I want to travel.
Europe has the advantage of being small. Really small. Many major European cities are about an hour’s plane ride and $100 away from Paris, an easy weekend trip if you Air BnB, so I fully intend to take advantage of that! I want to see as much as I possibly can, and blog about it, too.
6. I’ve had enough of California for now.
This is also part of the reason why I’m attending a university in New York, rather than California, where literally all of my friends except for two have chosen to stay. California is an amazing place, but spend two decades anywhere and you’re bound to crave something new eventually. I’m not saying I never want to come back to my home state again — I just need a change of pace. Of course, that’s not how everyone feels, but for me, staying for so long in one place just makes life seem stagnant.
So basically, at the end of the day, if you’re asking yourself if you should be taking a gap year for any of the reasons above, my advice is to go for it. School and work and life will all be there when you get back.
Well, that’s the post kids! I’m in the middle of packing [and trying to quit my job] so I’ll probably have some sort of video up on Friday. As always, keep an eye out for the #yapsaboutgap tag on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, as well as this blog for more gap year and Au Pair stuff!
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