Surprising Aspects of My Gap Year

My gap year has shown me new parts of myself in many ways. Before I started, I thought I’d be happiest going to law school and working in an office for my career. Even in these few short months, I’ve realized I don’t truly know myself. After lots of consideration, I have changed the direction of my gap year to facilitate my passion in exercise and movement.

I had previously assumed that my talents lay in studying history and English because that is what I received the highest grades in during high school. But, my three years of high school curriculum didn’t show me all the possible avenues of study. There is so much I don’t know about myself since school didn’t allow for the most self-discovery. I’d convinced myself I’d be happiest talking professionally to other adults in an office setting for 40 hour weeks, but now I’m confident I’d feel much more fulfilled moving my body and having meaningful human connection.

I knew I wanted to volunteer at an after school program for Spanish-speaking children at the start of my gap year; not particularly to be around kids, but to be around Spanish. While I believe my Spanish vocabulary has grown, my interest in working with children has developed, as well. This greatly surprised me since I previously thought I would despise being around kids for several hours a week. I love the constant movement in the classroom and how eager they are to move their bodies. This realization has lead me to conclude that I’d love a career working with elementary age children.

When I was in 2nd grade, my school has us do a career project. I said I wanted to be an art teacher. After years of school and societal pressures telling me a job like that wouldn’t fully take advantage of my intellectual potential, I have realized that the image of my career is much less important than passion for it. Eight-year-old Lauren knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, and 17-year-old Lauren knows that’s what she wants now, too.

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