Beauty of the Gap [year]

Except, not that kind of gap.

Though I am sure most of you are aware of my obsession with the store, and my corresponding sadness that the ONE in Tyler has disappeared. What’s a girl to do?

After I graduated from college, I had NO idea what I wanted to do. Since I kind of saw that coming, I decided to make the most of my time and head overseas with my best friend, Jen. We ended up spending a lovely four months in Australia!

 

((To see more of our adventures, click here to see my blog through it all.))

It was incredible. Hands-down the best trip I have ever taken. Sorry, future husband. You’ve got a lot to live up to.

We went through a work-abroad program, and never found jobs! Ha.. oops. I promise we tried! Oh, did we try. It is highly possible that facing unemployment post-Australia was made that much harder because of all the discouraging job-hunting in Australia! Still, we had quite the adventure. We were blessed to live with a beautiful family while we were there, and got to see the culture from the inside.

Highlights of our travels: snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, taking a zillion pictures of the Sydney opera house, seeing the penguins come in on Phillip Island, renting a car (and driving on the wrong side of the road!), hiking through New Zealand, and drinking more cups of hot tea than anyone ever thought possible.

We returned to the States in November of 2009. I loved the trip, but I was beyond ready to start working in “the real world.” I started interviewing immediately, for anything in the Dallas area. After college, you move to Dallas, right?

It was difficult to find the job of my dreams quickly. I did not even have an idea of what I was looking for. Still, I persevered, determined to be a responsible adult. I started working at Ann Taylor Loft just in time for the holidays, then landed a temp job at the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group in Frisco. Since I was still living at home, the hour and fifteen minute drive both ways got old really fast, and I soon moved into an apartment with some fun girls right in the heart of Dallas.

I hated working at DPSG. Few people would probably admit to really enjoying cubicle data-entry life, but I hated it so much that my roommates threw me a coke products only party on my last day. After two months, I left the temp job, taking a risk by starting work part time at a beautiful flower shop in Highland Park. I was also still working part time at Loft, getting involved in the children’s ministry at the church I was involved in, and made the leap to apply for grad school.

The time was now May 2010. It had been a full year since I had graduated. This is also the time when I had an interview for just one more full-time job. The job? Guest Relations Coordinator at a summer camp I had worked at in college. To be honest, I had not ever considered this job before, and only reluctantly applied because I knew the Lord wanted me to.

I got the job in June. By then I was beyond thrilled. A full time job! A salary! Full benefits! A job that would use my gifts and develop me! I still work at Pine Cove, over a year later, and am so thankful to be here.

The interesting part is, I ended up having a full gap year. It took me a while to realize that, but it was true. In other countries, like Australia, it is highly common for graduates to take a gap year, either in between high school and college, or between college and a full time job. This is extremely rare in America. Why?

There are some legitimate reasons. Marriage, student loans, family circumstances, and others. But I would argue that having that year to see the world, examine my beliefs, make new goals, and try things out was the best decision I have ever made.

I have had other friends go overseas to do missions for a year or two, some do grad school in London or Washington DC, some do the Forge here at Pine Cove. Obviously, just because there are options does not mean you should do it.

Pray. Seek the Lord. Instead of running off with your life plans, ask, why not a gap year?

2 thoughts on “Beauty of the Gap [year]

  1. Ok, so I will happily take the chance to be the first to comment on your blog! What an awesome surprise to see you’d changed your website on facebook πŸ™‚ You know I will be a faithful reader! I love this post because I remember so clearly how you faithfully trusted Jesus during the hard season of unknown. Integrity through and through Chels. That makes the sweet times of today even more rich!

  2. Pingback: Day 17 « the color of sunshine

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