24 May Simran’s Gap Year Experience
We asked one of our most successful Gap Year students to tell us more about her Gap Year experience. Simran has received over US$1million in scholarships from various universities and is heading to NYU Abu Dhabi in the Fall.
“My gap year is a year I will always value. Although I knew a few persons who had taken a gap year (and enjoyed it), I was initially very hesitant to try it. It was not something I had planned for myself nor something my peers and family expected me to do. However, I was determined to get a liberal arts education, something available only at universities abroad.
With the help of AIM, I started to plan my gap year. I knew I wanted my experiences to be meaningful as well as enhance my college application. The team at AIM listened carefully to my goals for the year, which included exploring my interests in educational and child psychology. Together, we proposed activities for the year and my plans soon came to life.
That summer, I worked as an assistant teacher, travelled to Cuba and completed an internship with a child psychiatrist. While my friends embarked on their university studies in September, I began an internship with a developmental pediatrician and assisted her team with their birth cohort study and research project on childhood violence. I also started volunteering at The Step Center, a school for children with disabilities, taking Chemistry and Physics classes to expand my scientific knowledge and studying for SATs. With a productive schedule, I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time.
I knew teaching was another activity I really wanted to do in my gap year. Unfortunately, schools don’t really hand out teaching jobs to 18/19 year olds. As a result, I decided to take matters in to my own hands (something you learn to do often during a gap year). With the help of my Campion family and friends, I started my own tutoring business from my home. I now assist students from 1st to 4th form with their time management and difficult subject areas. With the experience I was getting, I was able to secure a job as a part- time Spanish teacher at a prepatory school in January. From these opportunities, my love for children and desire to strengthen the Jamaican education system has grown.
Although my year was filled with activities, I had more time for relaxation and enjoyment than when I was in sixth form. I watched movies, read books and caught up on the many hours of sleep I was deprived of in high school. Additionally, I was able to give my college applications a lot of attention because I wasn’t overloaded with schoolwork.
These past few months presented me with countless opportunities for self-discovery, growth and exploration. With work experience I never imagined getting at 19, I have learnt more about my passions, strengths and weaknesses. I now have a better sense of what I want out of my college experience and life in general! If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, don’t be daunted; the year is what you make it.”