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Mind the Gap

For most high schoolers, senior year’s grueling applications and test prep are only made bearable by their promised reward. College is a long awaited haven for most high school students, and from the moment the tassel is turned from left to right, the eager summer countdown to college begins. However, a select few have more than a summer before they head off to college.

While within Packer taking a gap year is far from the norm, three students among the graduating class of 2018 have chosen to. Lucy Alsop (‘18), Isabel Kulko (‘18), and Will Pomerantz (‘18) will all delay their college enrollment until the fall of 2019.

Taking a year off is a leap most Packer students aren’t inclined to make; however, Lucy, Isabel, and Will all felt no hesitancy in their decision. They also shared similar motivations for taking a gap year, and had similar intentions regarding what they want to do with them.

“A gap year was something I had always thought about doing, and once the time came it just seemed like the right idea to me. We’re all so exhausted after these four years, especially the fall semester with applications and such, that I felt it would be a good chance to take time off from academic work and focus on personal growth and getting to experience new things,” said Lucy.

“I took a gap year because I think going from high school to college is the only chance to live your life not around school, and to be able to learn in a more active environment, not just sitting in a classroom but getting a job in another country, or other adventurous things that aren’t just sitting in a room looking at a whiteboard,” said Will, expressing a similar sentiment.

While taking a gap year is not a typical choice, many correlations have been drawn between taking a gap year and accelerated performance once in college, as well as becoming more likely to define oneself as happy. “All the responses we’ve gotten from students who have taken a gap year are positive. I think a lot of people do it not because they don’t feel ready, but because there are other things they would love a chance to do,” said college counselor, Lisa Shambaugh.

While neither Lucy, Will, or Isabel are quite sure what they intend to do with their gap year, they are grateful for all the opportunities their privilege and supportive communities allow them to have.

“I’m an opportunist and I’m fortunate to have the chance to take a year off from college, not go to school, and not have to worry so much about my finances, though I do plan to work. There’s a lot of life to learn that I haven’t had the opportunity to do within the typical school world,” said Isabel.

Lila Dominus is a sophomore at the Packer Collegiate Institute. It is her first year working on the Prism. She's always loved writing and is excited to have this opportunity.

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