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So far shelbyw has created 4 entries.

Let There Be Light

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson.

During the two-week Global Gap Year Summer Institute I don’t remember any former gappers talking about bad days. Of course they told us funny anecdotes about falling off motorcycles or running lost through city streets, but not one person shared less-entertaining stories of hard times – like not fitting in, sleepless nights, and lonely dinners and weekends. During my time in South Africa I often wondered why this was. Why would they have not warned me?

I tried very hard to go into my gap year without extravagant or adventurous expectations, but I soon realized that I was still not prepared for the struggles. Maybe you can’t really prepare. But I do want to talk about them, just in case there is a future gapper out there like me.

Now that the first half of my gap year is […]

By |February 5th, 2018|Gappers in the Field|

Kindergarten Kindness

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson.

I can still remember the smell of my kindergarten classroom. I associated that smell with fear and missing my “mommy.” Every once in a while, I will get a whiff of that scent and I can feel that same emotion creep up inside of me.

Today, I have a close relationship with my kindergarten teacher Allison Davis. She offered me something years ago that I’m just now able to fully recognize. During kindergarten, I did not realize how blessed I was to have teachers who not only taught me but also loved me. I have a better understanding of this duality now that the roles have reversed – now that I am the teacher consoling the students.

Being pulled from my mom on the first day of school was heart wrenching for both of us. Looking back now, I see […]

By |October 13th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

A Warm Welcome

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson.

“What’s your name?”
“Who’s that?”
“Can I play with your hair?”
“Will you chase me?”
“Can you push me on the swing?”

As I walked through the gate of the Dream Centre on the first day of my internship in South Africa, these were the words and actions that poured out of the 90 children who surrounded me. I was pulled in every direction and hugged all over. Four or five kids at the same time would yell, “Shelby watch me do this,” and then show off their best dance moves or their skills on the monkey bars. There was no possible way for me to watch each kid do his or her performance individually. Therefore, I tried to watch each kid for a few seconds at a time, but they soon caught onto what I was doing – and trust […]

By |September 11th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

Why Do What Is Expected?

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson .

“I expect you to go to high school, graduate, and go to college.” This is what I have been told that I would do my entire life – no ifs, ands, or buts about it – until I decided to go against the grain and challenge that expectation. Throughout all of the craziness of senior year with applying to colleges and scholarships, I found out about the Global Gap Year Fellowship (GGYF) program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The description was more than intriguing: a year of service abroad before going to college. This was my chance to get away from the everyday classroom-based learning environment and experience life in a new way. I knew I had to apply.

Much to my surprise, my parents were supportive and let go of their previous expectations for me. […]