Earlier this year, I couldn’t shut up about why taking a gap year was the most incredible choice you could ever make.
I was able to experience some of the most incredible moments of my life during that year; I made some lifelong friends; I was molded into a person I was truly happy to be.
There seemed to be no downsides.
That is, until I started college.
I love the independence of college; I love being self-sufficiency and the freedom I have in my schedule, career path, and life.
Those aspects of college mirror what I was used to whilst abroad, but there are definitely some heavy negatives that come with being away from the surreal utopian gap year life and back in reality.
The main thing I’ve noticed is how awkward interacting with other people your own age is. It seems that there’s a weird disconnect between you and non-gap year students.
During my gap year, I was making a lot of progress in respect to doing what’s best for my own happiness. There was a whole lot of growing up and figuring myself out involved, but returning home from Nepal, I had a clear image of who I wanted to become stuck in my head.
Being in college seems to have reversed the process, as I’m definitely regressing back into who I was prior to my year off. I weigh others’ opinions over my own; I care about image and what people think of me; I get caught up in societal constructs that simply didn’t exist when I was on my own.
I am content; I am neither happy nor unhappy.
Prior to my gap year, content was something I was not afraid to be. It was just okay. After experiencing what complete and utter elation feels like, however, I don’t want to be simply content. I want more.
For a brief moment today, I wondered if it would have been better to have not taken a gap year, if I’d be enjoying my current life more.
I look back at my travels and try to imagine my life without the experiences that have shaped me, and I know I made the right choice.
Failing to take a gap year would not have been better, but it would have been easier.
There’s a seductive element to taking the easy way out, however, now that I know how rich and fulfilling life can be, I want nothing less.