Zak – Preparing to Gap

Hello present and future Blue Devils. Welcome to my first ever blog post for the Duke Gap year program! In today’s addition I will be discussing how and why I chose to take a gap year.

For me, taking a gap year was a fairly easy decision. After four grueling years of high school I was pretty burnt out. As incredible as Duke is, the idea of jumping straight into an even more academic environment seemed extremely daunting. I was also fortunate to have several friends who took their own gap years and said it was the best decision of their lives.

Another factor in my gap year decision was that I truly have no idea what I want to study. Last week I was interested in mechanical engineering, this week I’m interested in sports medicine and next week… who knows? Clearly I need to spend some quality time with myself and hopefully get some clarity.

The hardest part about deciding to take a gap year was definitely finding a program that was right for me. After finishing the strenuous college application process, I was certainly not excited to discover that the process for applying for gap year programs was exactly the same! Sure it’s slightly less stressful, but the general experience was very similar. Like applying for college, there were hundreds of fabulous gap year programs that deserve consideration, which I simply did not have the time or brain power to consider. Most programs also require essays which are eerily reminiscent of the never ending personal statements required for colleges. Despite these hurdles, I summoned my inner strength and applied for several programs that seemed interesting.

Almost by accident, I stumbled upon The School of The New York Times where I will spend my fall semester. There I will live in New York and study under some of the Times’ best writers and thinkers. I am extremely excited to start this new adventure and I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!