Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Full Of Possibilities, But Gap Year Leaves Her Wistful For The Structure Of School

By Line Hellem
HORDALAND, Norway – There are a lot of tips and tricks out there. Advice lined up, experience just waiting to be handed down to yet another person. We can read all about how to prepare for starting school again after the long holidays; whether it’s a new school with brand new possibilities that lay untouched in front of you, or going back to your classmates and the safety that only “the familiar” can bring you.
Even though I will be quick to admit I never prioritized my time well enough as to actually sit down and read these things, I will also refrain from lingering in admitting that starting a new school, or simply re-entering the routine life that follows being a student, has always sort of scared me. It always felt a bit purposeless. Year after year sitting in various old classrooms, longing for that day when finally I would be able to choose my own life.
Well that day is here. Actually it was here months ago. And I thought I chose what I wanted to do, only to realize that in just a few weeks I managed to change my mind about seven times. So this year I’m ending up as probably a lot of other indecisive students around the globe; a gap year student, if there is even such a thing – I highly doubt gap-year “students” get a lot of studying done.
And as I am embarking on a trip to England to pause life for a few months while I try to figure out the next step, most of my peers are headed back to the classroom, to old friends or new challenges. Either way, they seem to have a relatively basic plan as for where their life is headed, and a definite sense of what their days will be like for the next year or so.
I chose, though, to leave the safety of having that fundamental idea of what the next day will bring only to do – what? Explore? Live? Enjoy? Achieve? I don’t know yet. All I know is that it’s a weird feeling knowing that I’m not turning up at some school this fall, and that I am actually already missing the structure that looked like a boring routine standing too close to it. And believe it or not, I am missing the fact that I know no one is going to be demanding anything from me on a daily basis.
While in school, just remember to appreciate the fact that someone else is placing ambitions in front of you; someone has highlighted a road of small achievements for you. Maybe it’s just working to get a good mark on an essay, or to perform well enough to achieve a scholarship.
No matter what it is in your life, I’m sure those little things exist. Those things that make you strive just a little more, the things that give you an extra push to get out of bed on a particularly hard morning. I wish I would have realized that those things weren’t obstacles or annoying requests from demanding teachers. Because these little challenges are what might keep you going when you feel like you’re groping for which direction you want to end up walking.
Some days school will no doubt feel pointless, like an obstacle to real life, the life you want to choose to live. But just take a moment to step back and enjoy the fact that if you, for a little while, don’t know what to work towards, you can always have a go at one of the smaller goals, the ones that are prepared for you. Because let me tell you, it is a lot harder when you have to start making up those little goals yourself.
So as for me, it’s time to get creative. And maybe next year, when hopefully I have charted out a path to start on, I’ll look though my files and find this little piece of advice, written more for me maybe, than for anyone else. Ideally I’ll read it, and actually remember it when that terrible teacher hands out that hopeless task to be completed in an amount of time that is just so ridiculously short. And with a bit of luck, I’ll remember the feeling of having absolutely no idea what to do with my time, and realize that school really isn’t that bad.

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