As soon as I realized that the fall semester of my sophomore year would not be “normal,” I knew I didn’t want to go back to school. I dreaded the thought of being confined in my dorm, social-distanced to the point of isolation from the friends and student life that makes college fun. When my school decided to go completely remote and not let anyone return to campus, my decision to take the semester off was practically made for me. Although I believe it was the right and necessary decision for my school to operate online, I couldn’t fathom spending another semester in my room hunched over my laptop. Coming home part way through the spring semester for online classes was an interesting experiment and experience, but I knew I didn’t want to do it again.
When I started college, I always wondered what it would have been like to take a gap year. Would I have felt more prepared for college? Less prepared? Would I have had a clearer idea of what I wanted to do with my life? What does life even look like without full time school? To some extent, Covid-19 has given me a second chance to explore opportunities through a gap semester that I otherwise would have never had. The worst that could happen is that I graduate “late”… but in the grand scheme of things I am really not worried about a few extra months of school.
I am going to use my time to get involved with things that fulfill me — working at an organic natural foods store, working or volunteering on farms, and serving my community by continuing my work with Turning Green and the Conscious Kitchen. If I were going back to school, I would be focusing solely on school, and maybe a part time job. By taking the semester off, I will be able to continue the projects with Turning Green and Conscious Kitchen I have worked on throughout the summer, make money and gain more work experience, and learn more about sustainable agriculture through hands-on work. Although I have a general idea of what I want to do after graduation, taking a semester to truly explore my interests will give me a clear path for the rest of my college education.
I am excited and eager for the upcoming semester. I know I have made the right choice, and that in the next few months I will learn and grow more than I can possibly imagine, returning to college in the spring with renewed energy and motivation. Here’s to making the second half of 2020 better than the first.