School: Middlebury ‘18
Most Recent Role at Camp: 2016 Senior Division Head
Three words to describe the experience?
Eye-opening, unforgettable, challenging (in a good way)
Why did you decide to take a gap year?
My best friend from boarding school is British and I guess it is more common over there, so he had always been talking about it and convinced me to do it. Also, we were two of the youngest guys in our grade by a year or more and so we saw how advantageous it is to be a bit older: academically, socially, athletically, etc. Also, I had committed to Middlebury to play baseball and wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue it so I thought the gap year would be an opportunity for me to figure out what I wanted to participate in and study at Midd when I got there.
What did you do during your gap year?
I began and ended my gap year as a Leader at Dudley, the first and second best decisions I made during my gap year. Afterwards, I drove out to Ligonier, PA and took a week long of fly-fishing lessons on the Rolling Rock Fish Hatchery river. Then, I flew to London to begin a three month stay in Europe.
My biggest takeaways from my European experience were learning how to travel by myself and navigate the subway systems of international cities, building the confidence outside of my comfort zone, and living with people from much different cultures than my own in such tight environments.
After that I flew back to the US for holidays, where I worked in retail and landed an investment banking internship in Boston for AGC Partners. I would call these two or three months my work experience. My biggest takeaways from this experience were narrowing some career/academic interests, interacting with superiors/adults in a professional manner, and appreciating/respecting my friend’s family and their space when I lived with them for an extended period of time.
Finally, before going to Dudley for the summer, I traveled to Peru, specifically Ollantaytambo in the Cusco Region. There I lived with a family for three months, originally helping out with two consecutive service trips from the U.S. We worked with the local public school to help build a wall around the perimeter. After that I was lucky enough to land a full-time English teaching position at a Montessori School after their old teacher got sick. I was connected with my host family because my boarding school had been sending trips there every summer, and and although I never went on them my College Counselor was the chaperon and offered to connect me. The town is at 10,000 feet, close to Machu Picchu and I only spoke Spanish for the three months. I would call this the most formative, besides Dudley, experience I have ever had. 100% outside of my comfort zone in an impoverished town in the mountains. The local community took me in, I explored every inch of the town and tried to see as much of the Incan ruins and mountainside as I could. My biggest takeaways were that it proved to me you can do anything on your gap year if you take a positive risk, getting to know a foreign place for an extended amount of time is infinitely better than taking a weekend there, it is possible to have a second family you truly love, and that my gap year was worth it.
How has it impacted you in college/beyond?
In so many ways I probably don’t even realize most of them. Felt a lot more mature when I showed up to school, knew exactly what I wanted to study, and I more confidence in an academic setting than I have ever experienced. My grades are higher than they were in high school. That feeling of confidence is only comparable to the high I have ever summer when I leave Dudley and go back to school. Right now I’m studying in Madrid, taking all my classes in Spanish, and the opportunity to travel alone and live abroad before this experience has made it so much easier and enjoyable.
If you have the opportunity to take a gap year, do it
Head back to the Gap Experience Page.