Gap semester after high school helped me get life back together

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN


Emma Welch is enjoying her time at sunset with friends. In La Jolla Calif. June 2020, courtesy of Teagan Alstrin.

Emma Welch, Staff Writer

Finding a plan after high school was one of the most confusing and terrifying things I had to do as a teenager. 

During the spring semester of my senior year, I was completely lost in what I wanted to do with my future. I had gotten into many universities, had job opportunities, but something was telling me to take a break.

When my friends and peers started committing to colleges and making other life changing decisions, I couldn’t even think about what I wanted to do because everything was moving so fast. 

When I was about to commit to a university, my heart was telling me something wasn’t right. I spoke with my family and friends and came to a decision of taking a gap semester.

I was in a vulnerable state after high school ended; having to deal with COVID-19, moving out of my house, and almost failing senior year. Taking a break from school is what I needed to get my life back on track. 

During my gap year, I worked in a Thai restaurant, was a nanny for two beautiful girls, assistant to the director and choreographer dance captain, and performed in a musical. All of these jobs made me mature and build my character to a potential that I didn’t know was possible. 

Even though taking some time off from school was what I needed at that point in my life, it was difficult for me to watch all of my friends progress through their college experience while I was making the active choice to stay behind. When I saw all of their posts on social media, it made me feel envious of the adventures they were having. Although I was not in the same place as them, I was still able to have my own experiences by taking this time off.

While not being enrolled in school I had a lot more time on my hands. I used that time to get to know and love myself. I journaled frequently to talk about my day or my feelings and that sparked my interest in journalism. 

Although getting over my initial thought of “you’re a loser because you aren’t going to college,” was difficult, it shaped me into a stronger, more independent, and hardworking woman.

I will always stand by my decision of taking that time off because it led me to City College and this is where I was always destined to be. 

I encourage freshly graduated high school students to consider this decision as well because taking a gap semester has been the best choice of my life.