Pre-departure

Pre-Departure: It’s All About Balance

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Rose Houck.

It has been nearly a year since I decided I was going to take a gap year. In this time, my decision has raised many brows as people question what real value I could gain from a year-long academic hiatus. Two years ago I would have never even considered the idea. Back then I had been laser-focused on excelling at everything. I don’t know where it was coming from, but I possessed this (admittedly somewhat obnoxious) natural drive to work really hard because I had convinced myself that if I kept this up then I would be successful one day.

When I moved to Durham my junior year of high school to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) I realized my perception of hard work and success was a bit distorted. I hadn’t defined what […]

By |September 17th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Here’s to…

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Karsen Kennedy.

Throughout my high school career, I never would’ve imagined myself breaking away from the “traditional” path of college immediately after high school and pursuing a gap year. It almost felt wrong and like I was going against everything I’ve been showcased and taught by all my peers around me. Almost as if I was making a huge mistake and wouldn’t achieve the same success of the more traditional path. My name is Karsen Kennedy and I am from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. I’m 18 years old and have a family of five; mom, dad, older brother, younger sister, and lastly myself. I am passionate about veganism, animals, the environment, music, history, learning about new cultures, and all things arts-related.

Even though I never imagined this, I have developed many reasons for why a gap year is for me, and it […]

By |September 15th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Uncertainty? Certainly.

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Kyra Koons.

Usually, writing feels therapeutic to me, so it’s a little bit of a mystery that my body isn’t flooding with relief right now. But I have a few guesses why:

I might be overthinking something.
I’m probably overthinking a few things.
I’m definitely overthinking everything.

It seems appropriate to imagine that my brain is a bingo cage, and my thoughts are the balls that rotate around and around until one slips out, right at the front of my consciousness. They’re already numbered in my mind from most to least important, but then they spiral around and jumble together so that Number 17 might come out before Number 2.

Alternatively (and then I promise I’m done with the metaphors), I’m turning into Abed from the show Community, where I keep thinking of all the possible timelines that my gap year could […]

By |September 14th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Popping the Bubble

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow McKenzie Roller.

I have procrastinated writing this blog post for a few weeks now. This could have been written and posted in a day, but until this moment I had not been able to get myself to sit down to write this, which is so unlike me. If you asked someone to describe me, you’d probably hear words like driven, leader, empathetic, thoughtful…but when it comes to my gap year, those core pieces of who I am have felt a little foggy; they are there, but they are being challenged. That fog, the fog that has made it difficult for me to sit down and put into words how I am feeling about my gap year and tell you who I am, is what makes me confident that I am in exactly the right place.

I have lived in Avon, Connecticut […]

By |September 13th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: An inch that made all the difference

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Ander Naugle.

The first time I applied to UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellowship, I envisioned immersing myself in a country thousands of miles away from my home state of Florida. So, I applied through the Global Citizen Year path: a program that would have allowed me to live in Ecuador for several months. The thought that I would soon be breathing in the Ecuadorian air, feeling its tropical soil dance below my bare feet, working towards my Spanish fluency as I order from a local panadería, and become better connected with my Spanish heritage, provided me with felicity. However, the inevitable call came and Global Citizen Year had to suspend its program for the 2020-2021 year. I remember the feeling of forgetting how to breathe; I was devasted, broken, hurt, you name it. I didn’t know what to do, because, […]

By |September 13th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Welcoming the Uncomfortable

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Tushar Varma.

If I’m honest, I don’t remember much of high school anymore. It’s frustrating, trying to create a mental image of what my life was like only two or three short years ago. I come up with a fuzzy approximation of someone excited to come to UNC, but absolutely terrified of what the uncertain future held.

And uncertain it has been. I switched my major around a few times before I felt I was finally on a path that inspired me to reach my full potential. I had been warned ahead of time that this convoluted process of self-doubt was normal for most. But I didn’t like it at all. I am an organized and prepared person — I always have been. So, not having my life planned out to the finest detail induced anxiety that I didn’t cope with in […]

By |September 8th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Why College Can Wait

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Val Orozco.

Identity changes with every other person you encounter in your life.

  I am the oldest daughter of a large family of immigrants. My younger siblings and I are all very different– my parents comparing us to the seven dwarves from Snow White. Everyone has a hobby or personality trait that makes them unique. Our activities range from sports to the arts; practicing our faith to debating ethical and moral dilemmas; from serving our communities to running away from the kitchen whenever mom and dad ask who’s doing the dishes that night.

I think that personality comes from different things in your life; your parents, your school, your position of privilege, financial status, talents, faith, hobbies, etc. People can influence one another to change the expression of our personalities in different manners as we are surrounded by distinct groups […]

By |August 31st, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Just Sitting

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Halden Levin.

Dear Reader,

You ask, “Where are you? Where are you going?” I respond, “I am sitting, facing the window. I cannot feel my foot, and my body is fighting sleep, but I am not thinking, not bothered by my thoughts, not bothered by anything. I feel present. I am here.”

I had plans and have plans, and everything is still quite uncertain. Originally, I was going to spend my whole year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, learning Mandarin Chinese at the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and complete a service placement during my time in Taiwan or the following summer with the Global Gap Year Fellowship (GGYF). But due to COVID-19, my plans have changed.

Upon discovering NSLI-Y would go virtual until January 2021 at the earliest, I began reaching out to Zen Buddhist […]

By |August 31st, 2020|Pre-departure|