Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Popularizing the Gap Year

I was pleased to see this article, 'A Cure for the College-Bound Blues, in the NYT education section.

And a bit of rambling on Education and the Ego...

It is rare that we hear the voices of America's youth who are breaking the mold, and doing something a little different between high school and college. I am thankful that America is finally beginning to understand the value in 'a year out.' When I graduated high school I remember telling my councilor that I was going to go to Africa and volunteer before going to University, her response, like most of the other people I encountered was 'Where are you going to college when you get back?' It was as though they couldn't see past the direct path from high school to college, and that nothing existed between. In fact, there is a whole world that lies between these two similarly run institutions.

I don't deny that many students know what they want to do, they have planned it out and perhaps they are ready to go to college straight after high school. I commend these people, and we need them too. However, I am sure that most eighteen year olds do not know who they are in the world, nor what they want from their education. This country is so crazy about achievement, progress, and fulfillment, there is little time spent actually livingbecause we are always busy preparing, becoming, and processing information. In fact, sometimes in my classes I find it difficult that I can be surrounded by so many wonderfully clever minds - though, most of their life experience is limited to the walls of their schooling, and thus doesn't bear dimension in the intellectual discourse and instead use the ego as the power tool behind the shallow nature of the argument. I don't want to sound as though I know more, because that is precisely the point...It is breaking outside of convention, working jobs, and speaking to people in the world that helps me to understand how little I know, and how much can be gained from stepping outside of myself and into another culture, or neighborhood! Diversity of experience, and experience brings shape and color to the University - I promote the Gap year!

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