In some ways, this is exactly what its called – a gap year.
In other ways, this is anything but.
Yes, there is a gap in time on any written document or record of my organized education. It’ll show a high school graduation year a full digit off from the year I start in college. And that is the “gap” I know and accept and embrace the thought of.
But it doesn’t show the bridge in my learning. It doesn’t show where I’ve grown to since graduation or everything I’ve experienced and learned while abroad. It doesn’t highlight my improved Spanish abilities or my capability to (mostly) use the Ecuadorian bus system. It didn’t even showcase the growth and experience I gained while I was outside of the classroom during high school. And I honestly don’t blame it.
The majority of the things that I’ve learned this year can’t be graded, put in chronological order, and used to compare me to my peers. At least not without defacing the true value of the experiences.
Something I knew before this year but really began to see come to fruition is that life isn’t a race, where everyone is on the same track and the education, financial status, and way you look equate to the training, breed, and natural stride of your horse. Believing that, in its own way, is dangerous, and likely leads to a life of constant comparison and low self worth. In reality, we’re all on different tracks, though some may look similar, and the sooner you realize that and put that knowledge into practice with yourself, the happier you’ll probably find yourself.
With this ideology, the overall experiences I’ve had this year will hold a different value to every person I meet. They can’t possibly be used to rank me against others in an appropriate manner and can’t all possibly be classified in their entirety on a piece of paper.
And while wise words are flashy and impressive to say, it's another thing to put them into practice. I hope I’m not the only one that takes these ideas to heart and starts to utilize them the next time I find myself comparing myself to others.
My bridge year means so much more than any blog post I could ever write, song I could ever sing, or photo album I could ever design. And I wouldn’t change that. Something like this, as cheesy as it sounds, is a journey everyone needs to experience for themself, rather than trying to imagine it from the words of another person. And for that reason, I can’t recommend it enough.