Seniors share their plans for prospected gap years
By Ella Koscher, ’15
On May 31, over 400 seniors will take to the stage at the Schottenstein Center and graduate from UAHS. For a vast majority of these seniors, college is the next stage. For a few, however, college will briefly be put off with a gap year.
Bound for Colorado Mesa University in the fall of 2016, senior Taylor Staub will take a gap year beginning this fall. From September to December, Staub will be working on an organic farm in Hawaii through a program called the Worldwide Organization of Organic Farms.
“In exchange for me working on their farm, they provide me a place to stay and my food,” Staub said.
Staub is excited to establish her interests during this time before she moves on to college.
“I decided to take a gap year because I’m just not sure what I want to study yet in college and…I’d rather have experiences in the world and then see where that…leads my interests and then go to school based on that,” Staub said.
Staub appreciates the support from her peers and her parents in her decision and offers advice to underclassmen considering taking a gap year.
“I think it’s important to have some kind of structure for yourself but there’s a ton of things you can do,” Staub said. “There are endless amounts of programs so I would say really look into them if you are absolutely positive that you are not ready to go to college yet or if you are ready still but are considering just taking a different path.”
Before she attends the University of Chicago in the fall of 2016, senior Alex Price will spend a gap year in Moldova, Europe. She applied to multiple scholarships from the State Department for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program and received a scholarship to live in Moldova from August 2015 to June 2016.
“I decided to take a gap year after I got back from the…Europe trip led by Mr. Endres last summer, ” Price said. “When I got back, I knew that I wanted to see Europe again, but this time I wanted to see it in-depth as a resident, not as a tourist.”
Price is eager to live in another country, be immersed in a new culture and familiarize herself with an unfamiliar language.
“I chose to take a gap year—specifically a gap year abroad—because I think it will allow me to experience another culture, better understand the world through different perspectives, and make me much more independent and mature as I go to college,” Price said.
While away, Price said that she is sure to keep up on her academics as well as grow as a student and learn through different methods. She suggests students who are interested to look into the opportunities a gap year can hold.
“You can use [gap years] to explore a passion, take a trip, make money or…try to figure out what you do want to do by gaining different experiences,” Price said. “The options are endless.”
Hopefully bound for OSU in the fall of 2016, senior Seth Chun plans to spend his gap year in a program called Vanguard Gap Year that runs through Wheaton College. Chun will be spending a great deal of his time at the program’s base camp in Honeyrock, Wisconsin, but traveling with the program.
“It’s a program that’s really dedicated to helping students find their own interests or find what they want to major in once they head off to college,” Chun said. “It’s…helping me train myself through service work and giving me perspective of life outside the bubble that I live in so it will really help me get a sense of the real world.”
From base camp, Chun will travel to different parts of the country.
“They’ll take us to parts of the country and parts of suburbia within the United States where we can see poverty in the U.S. and can kind of make an impact or a difference by helping the communities there,” Chun said. “And then our third trip will take us to the Dominican Republic to try and help the situation there.”
Chun is eager to learn both about himself and his academics by experiencing the world through service. He offers advice to others considering taking a gap year before college.
“As effective as the gap year is in my opinion, I would definitely say explore all of your options first,” Chun said. “Just because you don’t know what to do when you go to college doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be wasting time because I think to each his own…[but] you could be like me where you have an idea but you’re not exactly certain so I think it all just plays on how you feel towards the end of junior year, beginning of senior year.”