Gap year gives time to assess, evaluate

On Friday October 14, former Broughton alumna Kristen Gardner visited some classes to talk about her experiences with taking a gap year.

A gap year refers to taking a year long break between graduation and one’s freshman year in order to focus on personal pursuits, usually some sort of travel.

Gap years do take many different forms however, “there are a million things you can do with a gap year” Gardner said.

For her year abroad Gardner spent the beginning portion traveling through Peru working on service projects such as reforestation and a remote coffee farm.

After Peru she traveled to spend time in Spain to continue to hone her spanish speaking skills as well as explore the country on her own.

To cap off the year, after a brief stay at home to recover from the months spent traveling the world, Gardner hopped on a plane to Morocco to travel for a couple of weeks.

For Gardner, the gap year was “definitely beneficial”, but she recognizes that a year around the world may not be a reality for a lot of people.

In her presentation she addressed some common concerns that people have concerning gap years. One of the common concerns

she found was the expense. Traveling the globe is not exactly the least expensive way to spend one’s time, which Gardner recognizes. She was able to afford her gap year by using work-exchange programs in the different countries that she visited. These programs provide lodging and food in exchange for service projects and work. Gardner wanted to go on her gap year to “reevaluate what education meant to [her]”. She felt that her education only scratched the surface of what she hoped to do in the future and that a gap year might allow her to rethink the education system. While that is not the sole reason for taking a gap year, Gardner encourages everyone to take time to reevaluate their education. To close, Gardner attempted to alleviate some concerns stu- dents and parents of students may have about a gap year. She cited the work exchange programs when talking about the problems cost may pose and then transitioned to talking about the problem of age differences. A lot of people worry about starting college a year after most of their friends and Gardner did recognize this as a legitimate concern, however, she also said that in her experience, the college atmosphere allows one to make friends far outside their age or grade level.