Uncertainty and Excitement in the Face of Departure

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Andrew McBride.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing when I clicked the box on my CommonApp to be considered for this fellowship. The idea of taking a gap year had never seemed like a possibility to me in my grand plan for life where I had always planned on going straight to college and after that on to whatever career field I ended up deciding on. But after hearing that I had been accepted into the fellowship and learning more about the work that past fellows have conducted I knew that this was the perfect opportunity for me. The stress and massive workload from high school have definitely taken their toll and I am more than ready for a change of pace and an opportunity to give back. I’ve had so much fun meeting […]

By |September 27th, 2021|Pre-departure|

Dear Future Me

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Jess Foday.

My future: college essay prompts and prying parents alike force the topic into the forefront of my mind. And as I await my coronation into this perfect being I’ve concocted, I find myself talking to that future-self to pass the time. For her, I jot down book suggestions on coffee sleeves and catalog ambitious haircuts. Perhaps a partial product of my procrastination– I entrust her with much of our life, expecting she won’t snooze that alarm, hoping she starts that project, wondering if she has stuck to the path. Like some personal deity, I pray that despite her non-response, she receives the little care packages I send through time.

I am mostly content with these one-way conversations, satisfied that the silence is evidence of a fulfilling life on the other side. Still, I worry, how to actualize this […]

By |September 19th, 2021|Pre-departure|


The following blog post was written by Bridge Year Fellow, Sonia Rao.


That’s where I am right now. I’m sitting in my childhood bedroom, staring at bright pink walls I begged my parents to paint when I was seven years old. Stuffed animals on my bookshelves I never had the heart to give away. I just got back from a summer internship in Virginia, and in a week, I’m headed on a plane to my next stop – an isolated bed and breakfast in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, my friends have started classes at UNC. They’re getting lunch at Med Deli and studying on the quad. They’re sitting in the Daily Tar Heel office on a Tuesday night with Linda’s tots. They’re playing frisbee on Hooker fields.

A few months ago, I wrote a column for The Daily Tar Heel about why I wanted – no, needed – a bridge year. I was […]

By |September 13th, 2021|Pre-departure|

Life Begins At The End Of My Comfort Zone

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Nancy Alvarez Lopez.

Never-ending boring routine. That has been my life for the past 18 years. Growing up in a small rural town my life has been uneventful. Go to school, go to work, go home. Consumed by a routine that made me unhappy and unmotivated. I often found myself thinking, “what if…” “if only…” these two phrases were always on my mind. “What if I just completely went off-grid and started a new life, a whole new world.” The thought made my heart flutter. My eyes became smaller as I unconsciously was smiling from ear to ear. Back then, the idea was impossible. Now, in just a few days, I’ll be doing just that.

When I heard I received the Global Gap Year Fellowship, I was in disbelief. I had never thought about taking a gap year. In […]

By |September 2nd, 2021|Pre-departure|

Self-Reflection Before a Year of Transformation

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, John Swinea.

Throughout high school, I always felt like I was doing everything for anyone but myself. Striving to get good grades, trying to stay involved with my extracurriculars and friends, while worrying about things out of my control. When I was completing my college applications, the thought of a gap year had not crossed my mind a single time. Finding the Global Gap Year Fellowship Application within the UNC-Chapel Hill application felt like a breath of fresh air. The opportunities I was able to apply for gave me hope for the possibility of travel and new experiences. When I received my acceptance to the University, as well as being a finalist for the Global Gap Year Fellowship, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I have enjoyed every step of the GGYF process, and my […]

By |August 29th, 2021|Pre-departure|

The Story Without A Protagonist

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Sitao Lin.

  My life is like a fairy tale, a poorly written one where the plot isn’t clear but at least there are tons of feelings and tension so thick that even Excalibur couldn’t cut through. The main character of my life is supposed to be me but most of the time I feel like the cliche best friend character whose only purpose is to be the shoulder to cry on or to offer somewhat helpful advice. I wasn’t the type of kid to take risks, to go to parties and have fun and make friends with everyone I met. I was the student who followed rules, the teacher’s pet, the try-hard, and the kid that everyone would ask for answers and then turn around and judge. But it wasn’t my desire to try in school, I was […]

By |August 29th, 2021|Pre-departure|

High School Graduation to A Gap Year, Different Right?

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Ayanna Phillips.

I had mixed emotions upon first glance at the Global Gap Year Fellowship opportunity on Chapel Hill applications. I didn’t know whether the option was something I wanted to partake in. I knew that taking one would be different than most and I had to really consider whether this was a turn I wanted to take. After some thought, I decided to apply for it nevertheless. Particularly due to the fact that the last two-three years of high school (Merancas Middle College High School) came with a lot of stress with preparing for and completing college applications, taking high school and college courses, working, etc. To add to the stress, COVID-19 became the main issue as cases hit an all-time high in North Carolina. Simultaneously causing a period of quarantine and changes in my senior year which […]

By |August 27th, 2021|Pre-departure|

Overcoming My Peter Pan Syndrome Through A Gap Year

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Violet Child-Lanning.

The typical sufferer of Peter Pan Syndrome is described on the teletherapy platform Betterhelp as “someone…who does not want to enter adult life.” I consider myself incredibly lucky in life, and have had a magical childhood that stretched on much longer than most. I can now see that as the end of that childhood neared, I contracted a serious case of Peter Pan Syndrome.

Like many people in the height of COVID, I was plagued frequently with feelings of being stuck, stressed, bored, etc. But as I sat in my house for hours and months, the thing that troubled me most was finally realizing my childhood was ending. My relationships were changing. Nothing was as simple or exciting or fun as it once had been. I was terrified of slipping from the mystical forest of gnomes and fairies […]

By |August 25th, 2021|Pre-departure|