Getting to Where I’m Going

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Isaac Holmes.

“It says I’m a finalist for a gap year.”

I was shopping at Target with my mom when I saw I’d been accepted to UNC. We were taking a trip down to visit another college and had stopped to grab a few things. I was excited, of course, but I’d always seen getting in as an expectation for myself rather than an accomplishment. One of my closest friends was also accepted; she was also admitted to the honors college while I was not. I was disappointed, but my mom reassured me that it was a big deal to have been accepted in the first place.

I left Target with a UNC decal and drink koozie — it was the best merch I could find — and I thought it might cheer me up to have something tangible. We stopped for […]

By |September 28th, 2022|Pre-departure|

Forming Fear into fear

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Amanda Jesuca.


When I was finalizing my decision to take a gap year, I was still calculating how many transfer credits I would have to see if I would still graduate on time. That small fact illustrated my fear of a gap year as if taking one could only have merit if I could gain work experience, travel to 20 different countries, and somehow find time to meditate and eat organically and have some grand awakening. Like many other aspects of my life, I thought a gap year was a game of pure will and decisiveness. Working hard had gotten me to my dream school, in my dream program, and surrounded me with amazing people.

As the days drew closer to my departure, a deep fear rose from my toes and settled squarely on my chest, tightening its grip over my […]

By |September 28th, 2022|Pre-departure|

Sharing in the Joy and the Uncertainty

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Amelia Laursen.

Aug 29 2022

Wilmington, NC


This time last week, I was convinced I would be spending my gap year living at home and volunteering in a soup kitchen. I was convinced that I would have to go around and tell all the people I’ve told about my gap year, nope, I’m sorry, I lied, I won’t be going to Hawaii or Puerto Rico or California after all, haha lol so silly of me. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get a job, I failed.

This time last week, I was distraught and terrified and had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach because three months ago, within three days, I made the decision to take a gap year and what if it’s turning out to be the most boring, unproductive year of my life and the worst decision I’ve […]

By |September 28th, 2022|Pre-departure|

Dear Little Lela,

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Lela French.

We both know that I couldn’t have done this the easy way. Most people go straight to four years of college, but I’ve never been the type of person to do it like everyone else. Somehow I always have to add my own unique spin to all of my life experiences (you’ll be glad to know that I’m still consistent in that). Unfortunately, the process of getting here hasn’t been like the Disney shows you love so much. I haven’t found my happily-ever-after love story yet (actually, quite the opposite in most cases) and I still don’t feel like I fully fit in with the people around me. But I’m starting to come to terms with that, and starting to question whether that’s such a bad thing after all. Just because my path doesn’t look like everyone else’s […]

By |September 19th, 2022|Pre-departure|

Life is Long and Things Work Out

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow, Sophie Lowry.

*written on Tuesday, August 23*
I am currently sitting at my gate in the Atlanta airport. I am here 2 hours early, as my aunt and
uncle who live here successfully instilled in me a deep fear of the nightmare that security here
can be. I was also teeming with anticipation and could not just sit around in my sister’s
apartment this morning while she worked, so I headed to the MARTA station as soon as all my
things were together. Better to sit around in the airport, I guess? I made it through security
quick and easy, though (save for a *brief* pat-down of my right ankle). And here I am, thinking
about everything that brought me to this moment and everything to come. “Change is on the
precipice,” a friend just told me, and a liminal space like the airport is “suuuch a good place […]

By |September 19th, 2022|Pre-departure|

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|