When I made the decision back in May to join the Gap Year Program, I had grand aspirations and plans of working at a zoo, travelling the world, and learning a new language. While a global pandemic has certainly been enough to throw a wrench in all my plans, the past few months have shown me that sometimes, plans are made to fall apart. Without any further ado, here are three ways my gap year plans have changed, plus one way I’ve changed along with them:
- This is perhaps the most obvious of the three items on this list: No Travelling Abroad! One of the things I was most looking forward to about my gap year, and one of the main reasons I decided to take a gap year in the first place, was studying abroad. Although I may not be able to learn a language abroad, I’m definitely looking forward to taking some online classes and self-study.
- Another thing I was really looking forward to this year was my internship at Riverbanks Zoo, where I’ve been volunteering for the past four years. Unfortunately, the zoo cancelled all internships and volunteer programs for the foreseeable future, so I’m stuck waiting to see if things will open back up again in the spring. However, this has made me look more into other local opportunities, and I found a wildlife rescue and a farm animal sanctuary I had no idea existed!
- I got my first job! Now, this is something I never would have considered as part of my gap year, but after finding my year relatively unstructured, I’ve found that it makes every cent more meaningful knowing how much work goes into earning every penny.
+1. During this time of uncertainty and disorganization, I’ve learned that sometimes it takes a little uncertainty to figure out what you really enjoy in life and want to pursue, rather than just going through the motions. There are opportunities I had never considered, pathways I had never even dreamed of before taking the time to get away from all the pressures and just experience life. If I’ve learned anything from the past few months, it’s that sometimes, you need to take a step back, slow your pace, and examine what it is you really want from life and how your actions fit with this goal.