Saturday, July 25, 2015

Transition to College after a Gap Year

Transitioning to college may be hard, especially after not being in school for a year. After taking a gap year adjusting, starting new relationships and trying to find my voice will be a bit harder than going to college right after my senior year of high-school.

Adjusting to college life is hard on the gap year adults because we know we fit in with the sophomore class, but we are treated as the baby sibling that gets picked on that first semester by the older siblings. Getting involved for me is one of the hardest things because I was home-schooled and that does not really help with getting involved. Coming to college has been rather overwhelming with many different clubs and events around and some of them collide on the same night at the same time or at the same time. Living in the dorms was not a big deal to me. My family lives in a small three-bedroom house, and I always had to share a room. I am used to sharing a room, and it was not hard to adjust, but the most difficult was adjusting to sharing an entire hall with twenty different people around the same age as you. I like having more than one bathroom too. Being older than the people in my freshman class is hard to get adjusted to because I am twenty thrown into a group of eighteen-year-olds. It is hard to for the twenty-somethings in the freshman class because the upper classmen treat us like a newbie, even though we are, but we have experience and have matured in that gap year.

It makes us twenty-somethings a little depressed to know that we should have gone to college right after high school like everyone else, but we did not go to college that year because of all the intimidating questions you get from the relatives and family friends about college and where we want to be in ten years. It is strange having classes to go to on a routine basis. I was home-schooled, and I did not really have a set schedule. Coming to college and having to plan out your day around classes, the events that happen on and off campus, and sports was a bit challenging for the first couple of months. With each semester, you have to change the schedule to fit the day, that way you have time to study, hang out with friends, and get to know professors. I was home-schooled so I only had two teachers and that was my mom and dad, so when I came to college, I knew it was going to be different especially after a gap year. It is weird having to get to know professors because I have never really had to get to know teachers before. Now that I am entering my second year of college, I know how to talk to my professors, and I am not afraid to ask them questions about the homework assignments if I am struggling. Getting back into doing homework had been hard because all I did during my gap year was work and go to church. When classes started, I was excited to go, but at the end of the day I was stressed out because of all the homework and it felt like I had forgotten how to manage my time actually to sit down and study that first semester.

Relationships mean a lot to me because I did not have many friends in high-school and the ones that I did have turned their back on me when I needed them the most. The family is also important to me because they have been there for me, through the good and bad, during my four years of high-school life. I never really had the best of friends. I picked a bunch of people who ended hurting me in the end, and some of them turned down the road that wasn't less traveled. My friendships in those four years ruined me and I regret hanging out with them, but the people that I met at my home church were the same way, and that turned me farther from God.

Now that I am in college, I have changed, but that does not mean that it is easier, because last semester I started to hang out with people who had the same personality as the people I knew in high-school. I am just glad my roommate is not one of them. When I first found out who my roommate was, I was a little nervous. She was the first one to make contact. It was easy to talk to her through email and texting, but when we first met it was awkward for me. I felt four years older than her than only a year. I know a few other gap year students who felt the same way after they met their roommates. After living with my roommate for a couple of months, I started to feel like I was still living with my little sisters. I mean we get along just fine, but I am exhausted from being the responsible one. I am just glad God gave me a great roommate and friend. As for classmates, it is nice knowing that they are not my siblings, but it is strange because they are not too. I like meeting new people, but I am horrible at making the first move to start a conversation. Last semester there was only one class out of five where I knew everyone personally, and that was because the professor had us interact with each other. I am really glad that the professor had us interact and get to know one another because I made some magnificent friends in that class. Even my parents have seen a change in me.

When I told my parents that I wanted to go back to school after my gap year their thoughts with me going to college was fine, but I do not really know if my parents were ready. I think if it were up to my parents, they would have kept me at home for a little bit longer, but I could not wait to move out and be on my own. I was feeling cramped, suffocated and I wanted to get a better job and to do that I would have to go to college. I think I was ready to go to halfway through my gap year. The transition of me going to college was the hardest on my dad. He does not mind picking me up from school, but when it comes to dropping me off, he gets depressed, but we keep in touch with letters and technology. I try and call or Skype them at least once a week. What I love is writing letters to them it feels more personal and to me it feels to keep us more connected than just a quick phone call. What has been the hardest on my family is the money and how the price of sending me to college is somewhat tearing my family apart, but I knew they would always support me. "Tightening the irony into a knot was the knowledge that my parents were always behind me...They paid a tuition they could not afford" (Rodriguez, 603) Just like Richard Rodriguez parents wanted the best for him, my parents wanted the best for me.

It is hard to find your voice in high-school especially with being home-schooled, but in college this is where we are supposed to stand out and find that voice of yours. As a student, I am not a free person, and it is sometimes hard for me to find where I belong. For others, it is easier for them because most of them are outgoing and trying to fit in as a sophomore age student coming in as a freshman is hard because you do not know where you fit in. I have trouble with anxiety, and it causes a problem when it comes to trying to find my voice among my peers. Anxiety is a big struggle for many gap year students, and I believe it is a more significant problem for the women because today some men still think that girls and women should not go to college. It sometimes keeps me up at night with wonder about how the college freshman sees a sophomore age student coming in as part of their class and the same goes for the sophomores thought of me being a freshman at the age of twenty. If I get myself too worked up over these thoughts I have to go for a run, which could last thirty minutes to an hour or more depending on how anxious I get, but running helps calm me to relax and slow down.

Throughout last semester and this semester, I have to make time for myself to be alone for a little bit because that is how I "re-charge" and sometimes I just need to take a break, to step back and get control over my thoughts and emotions. Even though I took a gap year, I feel like I am moving too fast, and I feel like I might trip up at some point. "Our struggles can have to mean only if they can help to change the lives of women whose gifts and whose very being continue to be thwarted"(Rich, 21). What Adrienne Rich is saying is that we should use our struggles in a way as gifts to show others that we can get through the hard times if we just persevere through the difficulties in our lives. Finding a voice as a Christian in a college is not whether I go to a Christian college or not. We do not know where we stand in the Christian community. Some college students are more vocal in their Christian pursuit, but for some of the quieter Christians, it is harder to find our voice and make a stand for what we believe. During my gap year, it was easy for me to make time for God. I was able to go to church, Bible studies and help serve in the children's ministry, but making time for God in college has been hard. I am in my second semester, and I have just found a church. Commitment to praying and reading my Bible has always been a challenge to me, but entering college after a gap year has been even harder for me. When I started, I felt God beside me. I just didn't want to pick up and read my Bible. I knew that would mean less time to do homework, and I started to think of it as a waste of my day when in reality it did not take up much time it was just my miserable time managing. Once I got my schedule down and started to plan out my days I made sure to give at least half an hour to an hour for God time.

Making that choice to transition to college after a year of just working was hard on me, but it was best, for me, to take a break after high-school. Even though it was hard to adjust to the college life, to keep and make relationships, and try to find my voice as a student and a Christian, it was the best decision for me to start college after a gap year and it was God's plan for me.

                                                Works Cited
Rich, Adrienne. “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision.” College English 34.1 (1972):
18–30. JSTOR. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.
Rodriguez, Richard. “The Achievement of Desire.” Hunger of Memory. New York: Bantam,
1982. 43–78. Print.