Friday, 27 February 2015

What it's like: Taking a Gap Year

I took a gap year for many reasons. One of them was to earn money, another was to be able to relax with my friends and family and the third reason was to prepare myself for university.
Growing up in a Christian house-hold, I’d lived a pretty sheltered life, I hadn’t yet gone out clubbing in my local town and I was very much the occasional party-goer. For some reason it’s just never been my scene and I’m okay with that.

Most of my friends went to university straight from college and I was one of few that either took a gap year or chose to go against the idea of university. So I had heard of the numerous stories that my friends would tell me about university, how going out most nights was the norm and how student life was a penniless life. Most of these stories turned me away from going to university and for the longest time I didn’t even have any idea what I wanted to study.

At the beginning of my gap year I started blogging. My very first post on this blog was on October 7th and who knew it would inspire me to pursue writing at a degree level. I have adored writing for the longest time and now I had the chance to really take it seriously. I would encourage you now to take the subject that you are most passionate about, right now, make the decision, YOUR decision and no one else’s. Choose what you love and what you do as your profession will follow attached to it, never give up, never choose something that is the most “financially—stable”. Doing a degree that you have no love for whatsoever proves 3 or 4 hard, boring years of your life studying just because you have to or because “that’s what’s expected of me”. And of course many of you will be thinking “but what about being realistic?” what’s suddenly not so realistic about taking a step closer toward your dream?

I will be real with you now in saying that of course it was not easy, at times questions like “what are you doing with your life?” bombarded my mind and all these negative thoughts and invisible pressures I had placed on myself and what others had, with no intention of their own, placed on me. At times I felt trapped, lonely and vulnerable. I felt like I had amounted to nothing, I was going nowhere, I had no destination but I was simply floating aimlessly with no purpose whatsoever.
The Lord held me together in my gap year.

Taking a gap year made me think. It cleared my head and made me stop and appreciate the life I would be leaving behind for a short while. It taught me to love the company of my family and my friends and to reflect on the roots I had placed into the foundations of my life in this place I will forever call my home. It enabled me to be able to choose what I wanted to do at university in my own time rather than my college’s time or my parent’s time. How often will I be able to take a year’s break without having to worry about bills and money? If anything I feel like a gap year should be called a breathing year. A time where you can clear your head from school, exams, stress, deadlines for a few moments and to learn. It was a year of learning for me. Not in the education-sense but a learning curve for independence and learning about myself, what I liked, enjoyed, adored and disliked. It gave me time to write and more importantly time to learn more about the Lord. I was able to spend whole days in His presence and I was able to learn from seasons of barren and dry land. He placed people in my life that could teach me, that inspired me and that I could trust. He taught me trust in Him, trust in who I am becoming, who He is moulding me to be and teaching me His ways.

I believe He was preparing me for university from the start, even when I hadn’t decided whether or not I was going. The lessons I learnt in my gap year, helped me in my university life, even now I’m still seeing correlations between it all. This life and love that He has brought me to, I was never fully aware of until right now, sitting on my bed in my halls, reflecting on everything. It’s so strange to come to the realisation of what He’s done, what and who He is. I never thought this time a year ago that I would be here, my last year of college was a stressful year for me, almost as if I had nearly ruined all of my chances but He redeemed me and gave me opportunity and when I got here, everything fell into place. Of course not all of it was happiness on a stick but the majority of aspects of my university life, the friends I’ve met, the course I’m on, the church I go to and the extra-curricular activities I have involved myself in has me saying “This is where You called me to be” and that is what I’ve been saying and what He’s been saying over me since I got here. Even though it was incredibly hard to watch every move on into new chapters in their life, I held steadfast on Him knowing that He would lead me to where I needed to go. So here I am, living out the story He’s written and continuously writing for me and I can safely say that I’ve never felt so sure of where I’ve needed to be.

Rosalind xoxo

1 comment:

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