The Gap

I graduated high school in June, and have since been taking some time off formal schooling in what is commonly termed a “Gap Year.” A gap between schooling it may be, the name in no way indicates that this “year” (June 2015-August 2016) is any less fulfilling. On the contrary, while still living with my parents and not yet in school or work, I get the opportunity to be as free as I’ll probably be in life until I retire. Scary.

My decision to take a gap year was partly made for me. I missed a lot of time during high school due to treatment, graduating on time with the minimum credit load. The mere accomplishment of graduating on time despite all of that missed time and adversity is something I’m extremely proud of, but because of my light course load, I wouldn’t have had much to send to the colleges in the middle of senior year (a term really does make a difference). Therefore, I put off the college application process last year, both to put all of my energy toward finishing on time and also in order to give the schools a fuller picture.

With this said, I also felt that a gap year would be good for my state of mind. Battling through high school and treatment at the same time is by no means an easy thing. I therefore felt that it might be a good choice to remove one of the weights from the scale, and dedicate my weeks off treatment toward taking some time for myself.

Over the course of the summer, that time was spent working at the Bird Watchers General Store in Orleans, Massachusetts, with the fall being dedicated toward college apps. With only the waiting time of the application process to go, I now can begin the third and final phase of my year: travel.

And I’m getting off to a roaring start. One week from today, I leave for Australia for twenty-six days. I’m ecstatic, but also a bit nervous. It’ll be my first time traveling alone internationally, and halfway across the world to boot! I’m definitely getting my feet wet with this whole independence thing, that’s for sure.

-Alex

Addendum: Don’t worry. Despite six years of writing at a different site, I have not forgotten that this is my first post here! Welcome to all of you, and thanks for continuing to follow my journey in the birding world. Also, thank you to Jim Hagani for helping me get this site going.

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