How Taking a Gap Year Helped me Find Myself

How Taking a Gap Year Helped me Find Myself

When I was finishing my last term at the private boarding school I attended in Milan, Italy something began to dawn on me. I was nearly an adult and had no life experience. I had never had a job outside of the family furniture business. I had never managed money or paid my own bills. I’d never even driven a car. I’d also never spent much time with people who weren’t, for the most part, exactly like me. I was also due to begin studies at a prestigious university in Rome where none of those things were likely to change. This was when I decided that I needed to take a gap year to work, travel, volunteer, and ultimately find myself. Here is what happened and what I learned.

I Discovered That I Could Make Myself Heard

The first thing that I had to do was to tell my parents and grandparents that my plans (there plans too) had changed. It was a difficult conversation. They couldn’t understand why I wanted to do this. I explained to them that I wanted to have some important life experiences before jobs and education would make that difficult for me. At first, they offered to send me to Paris for a summer to study under a fashion designer that my mother knew. Finally, though, I was willing to get them to understand why I needed to establish independence. As someone who usually went along with whatever plans were laid out for me, this was a big deal.

I Learned to Solve my Own Problems

When I started my gap year journey, I guess you could say that I was book smart but not street smart. I was an honors student. I had travelled to major cities all over the world to showcase my artwork. Because of my family’s connections, I was surrounded by artists, designers, and intellectuals my entire life. But, I had never filled out an application for a job, gotten a car repaired, or dealt with a missed flight or train when I didn’t have the money to simply purchase a replacement. My gap year experience changed this quite quickly. I landed in North Carolina to begin my gap year volunteering with a group that brought music and art programs to schools and community centers in impoverished rural areas. Unfortunately, I didn’t land soon enough to catch the train that was supposed to take me two hours away to begin volunteering.

Calling home wasn’t an option for me. So, I found a payphone and called ahead to the volunteer organization to let them know that I would be a few days late. Then, I went to a tiny Italian restaurant and asked if they needed a server for a few days. They didn’t, but they did need a dishwasher. Three days later, I had the cash I needed to catch the same train I had missed and I made it to my destination.

I Spent Months Helping People But Always Walked Away Inspired By Them

The majority of my gap year was spent volunteering and travelling from one volunteer experience to another. I started my experience thinking that I would be paying back my blessed and privileged existence by giving service to others. In the end, though, I felt even more indebted by the experiences that I had. In addition to teaching music and art to children in North Carolina, I also helped families in Kansas whose town had been decimated by a tornado, spent a week holding babies at an orphanage in Cambodia, and served food to homeless people out of a church kitchen in London among other experiences.

Here’s what is truly humbling. No matter how dire people’s circumstances were, they were always hospitable and just as willing to help themselves as we were to help them. In Kansas, the families we helped held a cookout for us using grills and bbq pits that they assembled using scrap wood and metal barrels. In London, the lads that I served dinner to all got together and replaced the radiator hose on the car I had rented to travel to the next city. In Cambodia, we were sung to and also blessed by young men who had decided to become monks.

I Fell in Love Not For The First Time But in The Most Genuine Way Ever

The last leg of my trip landed me back in the United States. I had earned enough money to pay for a hotel room in Chicago for a week before heading back to Italy. Within two days, I had fallen in love with the city. By the end of the week, I had also met and fallen in love with the man who is now my husband. In fact, he and the new self-confidence that I had developed during my gap year were the reasons I made the decision to attend university in Chicago instead of Rome.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

— Follow Us —

Up Next

The Role of Digital Platforms in Workplace Sustainability

The Role of Digital Platforms in Workplace Sustainability

Digital platforms have transformed facets of our daily lives, from online shopping to social networking. However, their influence extends beyond convenience and connection. Recently, companies have begun utilizing platforms to bolster and improve initiatives promoting sustainability. This article will delve into how these platforms contribute to fostering practices across business sectors.

I. Enhancing Communication and Collaboration

In today’s landscape, characterized by the rise of work and virtual teams, digital platforms like VelocityEHS facilitate effective communication among employees while minimizing environmental harm. Organizations can reduce travel, l

Up Next

Should I Study Counselling or Psychology?

Should I Study Counselling or Psychology

Does pursuing a career devoted to understanding the human mind and helping people intrigue you? You’ve probably considered studying counselling or psychology. These are noble professions where you can make a real difference in the lives of people struggling with challenges and different mental health issues. But how do you know if you should be a psychologist or counselling? These professions are sometimes used interchangeably, but you need to understand that while there may be some similarities, these are two very different roles.

What does a counsellor do?

Counselling is what people refer to as talk therapy. Professional counsellors are the people who will provide a safe environment where their clients feel comfortable enough to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and problems in confidence,

Up Next

Why Men’s Residential Inpatient Programs Are Effective for Long-Term Sobriety

Why Mens Residential Inpatient Programs

Men struggling with addiction often find it challenging to discover treatment options tailored to their requirements. Recently, there has been a growing focus on the advantages of programs designed specifically for men in achieving prolonged sobriety. These programs create a nurturing environment that tackles the obstacles men encounter during their recovery journey. This article aims to delve into why these programs prove effective, shedding light on the qualities that establish them as resources for men striving for enduring recovery.

Acknowledging Gender-Specific Elements

A reliable men’s residential inpatient program in Colorado should acknowledge and tackle

Up Next

How Mental Health Issues Manifest in the Body: Signs and Symptoms

How Mental Health Issues Manifest in the Body

Have you ever felt completely drained, both mentally and physically, without any obvious reason? While it’s easy to brush them off as minor annoyances, these could actually be signs that your mental health is taking a toll on your body. 

In today’s fast-paced world, stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges have become increasingly common. But what many people don’t realize is that these conditions can have a profound impact on our physical well-being. 

The mind and body are intricately connected, and when our mental health suffers, our bodies often bear the brunt of it. It’s likely that healthcare professionals, as well as students completing their nursing clinicals, have witnessed these mind-body connections firsthand. 

Up Next

10 Expert Tips on How to Choose the Perfect Car for You

Tips on How to Choose the Perfect Car

Choosing the perfect car can be an overwhelming task given the plethora of options available in today’s market. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade, finding a car that suits your lifestyle, budget, and preferences is crucial. Our comprehensive guide offers ten expert tips to help you make an informed decision and drive away with a car that’s perfect for you. Using SCA.Auction you can find any car you want from home.

1. Define Your Needs and Priorities

Before diving into the sea of car options, take a moment to assess your needs. Are you looking for a family car, a commuter that sips fuel efficiently, or a weekend sport vehicle? Count under advisement factors like how many passengers, cargo, common dr

Up Next

Free Online Backup for PC: Backup Computer Files to Cloud Simply

Free Online Backup for PC

Over a period of time, your PC ends up having a lot of data such as personal documents, photos, videos, and any other data. It is always wise to back up your significant files. So what should you choose: local backup and online backups?

Local Backup vs. Online Backup

With local backup, where you backup your files to local storage devices, like USB, hard disk, external disk, your storage media can be damaged or stolen, ransomware can prevent you from accessing your data, or any human error and the occasional disaster can cause you to lose your data. However, these risks can be greatly reduced if you switch to online computer backup.

PC online backup software not only keeps your data away from all the mishaps that local storage can be subjected to, b

Up Next

How to Data Recovery from Failed Hard Drive

How to Data Recovery from Failed Hard Drive

Hard drives like other devices may expire and fail for various reasons. However, if you have important information on dead hard drives, you may still be able to recover them. This tutorial will take you through the process of recovering data from dead hard drive. You will learn about the common reasons for hard drive failure, how they can get damaged, and how to restore data from these devices. Also, you will receive instructions on repairing dead hard disks.

Is it possible to recover data from dead hard drives?

The hard drive stores and receives information using a magnetic plate. This means that there are several moving parts that may damage the disk. Physical damage to the hard disk may occur, as may the damage of the lock mechanism associated with the hard drive.