My decision to take a gap-year after completing my second year of college was met with very little support and plenty of questions.
“But wont you be falling behind?
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Isn’t that a waste of time?”
Admittedly, the first few months made me feel as if I had come to an abrupt and complete standstill. I was a passive observer, while all my peers moved through their education at a radically heightened speed. I would be graduating a year later than the people I began my university experience with. I would be delayed and disadvantaged upon entering the post-graduate world. I would be permanently solidifying my place one step behind everyone else.
Because gap years are unconventional, they come loaded with a heavy sense of taboo. As college students, we have all pushed tirelessly to arrive at the respective places we find ourselves in now, so some of the most terrifying sentiments can be those of non-motion and stagnation.
But it was during this recess that I realized what a great disservice I was doing for myself. I was barreling blindly through school, gripping tightly to a major and lifestyle I believed would prepare me for a stable future, while ignoring and pushing aside the knowledge that the path of study I was running on was riddled with deep pitfalls and monumentally ill-suited for me. In the twisted paradox of those two years, I convinced myself I was growing as a person and a student, while I was really experiencing a great deal of self-regression like that of my decreasing GPA.
Traveling forward is not always synonymous with growth. All my growth occurred during this “plateau” period, and it occurred with such strange weight and inertia. But I re-calibrated my priorities, rediscovered my passions, and reconciled with the person I was and the woman I wanted to become. With the conviction of realizing what I truly wanted from my college experience, I changed my major and made the decision to transfer to Georgetown.
A gap year does not need to be filled with an internship or a job. You can choose to travel the continents and have a sweet taste of the world that extends beyond the minute one college delineates, or simply spend it in the comfort of your home with family and friends. There is no such thing as “wasted time,” because the time you take to dedicate solely to yourself is the most valuable kind there is, and most certainly the most luxurious as well. When you truly do enter the professional world, there is very little opportunity for you to be selfish in how you spend your time. A gap year before and even directly after graduation, can be seen as the great breath of air you fill your lungs with before diving into the great sea that all professionals are wading in.
We are rushing through college, as if we are being chased during our entire four years. But do you know where you are running to? Do you know remember what is moving you? There would be nothing more regrettable than the moment you look down at the diploma in your hands, questioning why you made the decisions you did, and asking yourself, “Why didn’t I just take a moment to breathe?”
Sarah Kim is a junior in the College. Infinity Songs appears every other Sunday at thehoya.com