Hi! My name is Cate and this year I will be taking a gap year before pursuing my college education at Duke University in Fall 2020. By taking this gap year, I will get the opportunity to explore my interests, recharge from the stress of high school, and gain new skills that will be useful in my college career-and beyond! With this blog, I hope to keep you updated on all of my newest adventures and discoveries throughout the year. But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
I come from Idaho, also known as the land of the potatoes, and grew up with the mountains in my backyard. From exploring national parks all across the West to learning to fly fish in the Boise River, I’ve enjoyed spending time in nature from the very beginning.
Upon reaching high school, this love for the outdoors expanded into a love of science and inquiry as I took my first chemistry and biology classes. As I look toward my future college career, I’m hoping to continue my scientific inquiries and study biochemistry. However, I’m still unsure as to where my path may lead and am excited to explore my interests further during this gap year.
While planning my year, I decided that I really wanted to delve deeper into topics and interests that I really didn’t have the opportunity to explore much in high school. By thinking about these interests, I formed a plan for a year that will hopefully lead me toward better understanding myself and my goals for my future at Duke.
As I mentioned above, one large part of my identity is my love for the outdoors. In high school, I didn’t explore many of the opportunities regarding nature and the environment. So, to begin my year, I will focus much of my attention on environmental policy and start an internship at the Sierra Club Idaho Chapter. Through this internship, I will explore local environmental issues and learn how to run effective political campaigns. During my time in Boise, I will also be training with a professional grant writer. Throughout high school, I worked to establish a summer camp called Young Maestros, a fun summer orchestra experience offered to underprivileged elementary and junior high schoolers at no cost. For the past several years, Young Maestros has relied on donations from parents and other community members. My goal is to learn how to write grants in order to make Young Maestros more self-sufficient and to provide more resources to the students.
The second part of the year, I will embark on a 4-month trip to Cuenca, Ecuador as a part of the Amigos de las Americas program. While in Ecuador, I will take Spanish immersion courses through the Amauta Spanish School and have an internship with a nonprofit agency focused on biodiversity and sustainability. During the semester, I hope to build my cultural awareness, along with leadership and Spanish language skills, by living with a host family and attending different cultural workshops. To prepare for this trip, I plan to take Spanish language courses at a local language school. Throughout high school, I took German language classes; however, learning Spanish has become a goal of mine and I look forward to working on my language skills throughout the entire year.
In pursuing several different experiences during my gap year, I hope to explore some of my passions and hopefully even discover more. Whether it be studying Spanish in Ecuador or learning more about environmental policy with Sierra Club, I hope to go into my freshman year of college more confident about what interests of mine I should explore further.