Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why is this blog different from all other blogs?

...It's not.

Sorry to excite you. It's only different because it's me and not you, or your best friend (unless that's me) or your next-door neighbor, or that kid you met in 7th grade and haven't spoken to since (unless that's me, too).

This blog is called "Mind the Gapper" which pretty much says everything you could possibly need to know. I'll elaborate:

1) The blog exists so that anyone who cares (you, apparently) can keep tabs on the Gapper (me...) without said Gapper needing to send out dozens of individual emails daily. As much as the Gapper loves you all, she would like to spend the majority of her gapping time away from computers/phones/implanted tracking devices etc.

2) I have a penchant for bad puns. I have yet to meet a good pun. (Also, I tend to over-use sarcasm, so if I say something that sounds ridiculous, chances are I'm not serious).

So, Hi :-)

I'll begin:

What is a gap year?
This is.

What am I doing for my gap year?
Thinking Beyond Borders.

What's that? (Say those who don't like links or lots of reading)
Well, it's a program (new this year so expect glitches...all part of the *fabulous* experience) that takes 16 kids around the world to learn about various global issues first hand by working with local NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations) and living with families in each country. We go to five countries for a month each and, in between, we spend a week on a more touristy type trip so that we don't go all the way to India only to miss the Taj Mahal. I don't have a very detailed itinerary beyond the order of the countries and I don't know specifically what I'll be doing in each, just the basic topic. I may find out when I get there...all part of the adventure! Whatever it is, it'll be an experience worth having, I'm sure. Anyway, the basic plan is this:

Orientation: One Week - Costa Rica: Introduction to Curriculum, Team Building, Goal Setting, Safety Training
Unit 1: One Month - Ecuador: Clean Water and Development
Enrichment Week: Peru: Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Unit 2: One Month - China: Public Education and Economic Growth
Enrichment Week: Cambodia: Angkor Wat and Beaches
Unit 3: One Month - Vietnam: Environmental Conservation
Enrichment Week: Thailand: SCUBA Certification
Unit 4: One Month - India: Sustainable Agriculture
Enrichment Week: Delhi: Delhi and Taj Mahal
Unit 5: One Month - S. Africa: Public Health & the AIDS Epidemic
Enrichment Week: Kruger Park: Safari in Kruger National Park
Culmination: Six Weeks - USA: Processing and Presenting

So why take a gap year?
I should have an answer to that, right? One, normal, simple answer. Sorry. I don't. I have a lot of answers and each one has a different weight at a different time. I'm taking a gap year because when I got the flyer about the gap year fair shoved in my face one night when I was upset (because it was, of course, the obvious way to make me feel better...) and I read through the programs and found TBB and thought "that's actually ridiculously amazing. I wish I were the kind of person that would do that" and then couldn't shake the idea (to the point where I really didn't sleep for three or four nights straight and babbled on about it to all of my friends...sorry, guys...), I decided that I AM the kind of person that would do that because by doing it, I become that kind of awesome, adventurous person -- and that is the kind of person I want to be. That was my initial reason for actually considering the unthinkable: not heading straight to college!

That brings me to reason number two. I'd like to start by saying I'm really, really excited for college. I'm heading off to exactly where I want to go and I think it is the perfect fit for me. I can't wait to take psychology, linguistics, philosophy, Russian, name it! But because I'm so absurdly excited for college, I want to make sure I appreciate it. I've been in school since I was 2 1/2 ( counts...sort of...) That's a loooong time. And I used to love school. Recently, though, every assignment, every paper, has become a nuisance. I'm sure part of it is senioritis, but it may go deeper. There is actually, contrary to popular belief, life beyond high school, beyond college, beyond law school and beyond medical school. And college is this wonderful thing where you get to learn about basically whatever you want without a lot of pressure about paying the electricity bill or your taxes. I want to make sure that when I get to write a paper about something I decide is interesting, that I really want to be writing that paper, that I'm getting everything out of it that I can, that it's not just some continuation of that horrible thing that was high school ( wasn't horrible...but really, I'm not high school's biggest fan for various reasons, all of which I intend to leave behind me on June 6th and so needn't mention here) or a pre-cursor to that looming thing that is a job, or law school, or whatever. I'm not entirely sure that any of that made a whole lot of sense, but basically, I want a break from this super-highway of overachieving academia so that when I merge back on, I'm ready to rev up and go.

Reason number three is this: Three years of Model U.N., thinking up fake solutions to real problems, gets just a little frustrating. Not that everyone shouldn't do MUN. They should. It's awesome. But TBB has presented me with the opportunity to address all those real problems for real which, basically, is what I want to do with my life at this point: address real problems (be they local, national or international) for real (be it through think tanks, news, congress, the U.N., whatever). I have this strong urge to fix things and I can so I will. Why not? Another kid from my school taking a gap year titled his blog (which I just read this morning) "Never Ever Say No." That pretty much articulates the motto I decided to try to live by the summer after 9th grade. Just say yes. Try it. What's the worst that could happen? (Don't answer that. I'm getting all my shots. ALL of them. 14, to be exact. And I hate needles. I'm getting really good, though. Sorry, I had to brag.)

Anyway, if you got this far in my really long first post, I have one last thing to say: I'll update this summer and I intend to update as often as possible next year. The computer situation during TBB is not quite settled. As it stands we are supposed to share 4 laptops among the group of 16 kids. Anyway, the point is that I may not get to write that often, but I intend (the road to Hell is paved...) to keep some sort of written journal when I can't write here so that this awesome year gets recorded, if only so that I get to look back on it later.

Oh, and please leave comments to keep in touch! They're public, though, so if you have anything inappropriate to say (or just, you know, aren't a big fan of the world reading our correspondence) my email address remains the same.




Anonymous said...

Becca! I think it's really awesome you're taking a gap year, and spending it actually doing something! (as opposed to folding clothes at The Gap, which would be terribly ironic...) I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures!

<3 Eryca

Dr. Zeuss said...

becca you're going to have *such* a good time.

and re your reasons for going: lol, I could have written this post pretty much word for word.

Dani said...

Jealous, oh so very jealous.

Adelaide said...

Becca, I'm so excited to read all about what you're doing. I know it will be better than you can even imagine. I'll be checking in often!