A letter to future gap year students

Dear Future DYGP members,
This time is uncertain enough. You’ve heard that plenty of times by now (and especially now) but a gap year is meant for uncertainty! During my gap year I scheduled in time for uncertainty. The whole year wasn’t a big question mark, but Ieft space for some spontaneity. I had the time to say yes to lots of different opportunities, so I did. Those experiences are ones that made my gap year so special. 
I would advise future gap year students to sit down and write out a list of goals for the year. What do you want to learn? How do you want to move through this time? Do you want to use this time to deepen connections to your circles? Or deepen a connection to yourself? What excites you? What scares you? What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn/try/experience? Then ask yourself, “How can I make these goals happen?” 
What I’ve learned through my gap year is the amount of autonomy I have. This year was truly my own, I didn’t have requirements set or schedules needed to be followed. This allowed me to actually follow through with answers from those questions above. I wanted to learn technical rock climbing skills, so I did. I wanted to deepen my connections with my family, so I did. It was a freeing experience to have the time to do things I truly wanted to do outside of academics. Before my gap year, I spent a lot of time doing things I thought would benefit my future, i.e. taking difficult classes just to say I took them. Now I realize that I can have more fulfilling experiences by spending my time mindfully. My advice to future gap year students is just that; structure some time around what you want to and are able to do this year and, please, leave room for spontaneity.
Delaney