05 September 2013

A Good Read on Gap Years

It's not particularly common to take a gap year in the States. It's definitely rare in the transition between high school and college, and while becoming more common between undergrad and graduate school, there's still plenty of people who choose to complete all their schooling in one go.

I'm going to admit that I always was hesitant about taking a gap year. I just felt like it was just easier to get all the misery and suffering over with at once rather than in chunks. My grandbig and big, though, both take a gap year before going off to medical school and absolutely raved about it. They used the year off to gain new experiences in the medical field and to just spend some time living as a real person rather than a student.

After hearing them go on and on about the things they were doing, I decided to take a gap year myself. Sure, it didn't blow over so well with my mom, but I've been out of school for nearly 4 months now and I have yet to regret my decision. The real world is no walk in the park: a full-time job is exhausting, you're probably not rolling in money, and gone are all my pre-set social events (thanks, sorority life!). But this is the first time in a long time my brain hasn't been fried (study abroad does not count). Eighteen years of schooling can take a toll.

Traveling is a great way to fill up that year. I, of course, actually will have a job while abroad, but if I had the money to just travel all year I totally would! Instead I compromised a bit. Here's a great article on reasons to take a gap year. If you're considering taking time off after school, definitely give it a look!

04 September 2013

One week, EEK!

I promise I did not realize that the title of this post rhymed until after I had already written it. However, let's pretend I'm incredibly witty and creative and came up with it purposely.

Moving on.

I wanted to write this post and then post it exactly one week before leaving (down to the time and everything) but unfortunately, these little nuisances called personal statements got in the way. So I'll have to just compromise and post it on the special day and not the special hour.

We're now officially a mere 7 days from my departure day aka one week aka single-digit numbers. And honestly, I don't know if I'm more excited or nervous. Excited is probably an easy one to figure out: I'm moving to Europe y'all! Nervous pretty much encompasses everything else. I have no family or friends in Madrid, I've never been away from home for so long, where am I going to open a bank account, there's no good-quality cheap nail polish, etc. Even the language has me stressing! I speak fluent Spanish but anyone who is a native Spanish speaker can tell you that the following analogy is probably correct:

British English : ebonics :: Spain Spanish : my homeland's Spanish
*Note: I will not call out my homeland on this blog. Loljk I probably will at least once but it won't be now.

I digress.

In preparation for my trip, here are some things that have gone down:

Shoe shopping. The last time I was in Europe, I did A LOT of walking. I'm talking I-lost-a-whole-eight-pounds walking. Unfortunately, this also left a lot of my most comfortable shoes completely destroyed. So flats and sandals were a necessity.

I got my eyebrows completely reshaped and I will be getting a haircut and a keratin treatment this afternoon. Yes, I know my hair is straight. Can't a girl just try to look fresh abroad?

I got a new crossbody bag because it was time to retire my previous one.

I made an appointment to get my metro pass WHAT

I unlocked my old iPhone so I can use it in Spain. I promise to write a post on the complexities of getting a phone plan abroad once I actually get there. 

I downloaded a Firefox extension called mediahint. This basically allows you to access sites like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu from outside the States. According to my boyfriend, this can also be done if you do something with your ip address, but my technologically-challenged self did not really understand anything he said. Just download the extension.

I have finalized my list of graduate schools and have begun the process of writing my 8(!) personal statements. If I get into my top-choice program, you best believe I'm not completing those later applications.

My sister will turn 18 next week, so I'm trying to cope with the fact that my sister will now be an actual adult with the ability to vote. If you know my sister, you know why this is a major cause for concern. 

I went to Michaels and was geeking out so hard over all the Halloween crafts. All the things I could do with the little ones! In the end I settled for some stickers and basic craft supplies...for now.

The suitcases have been pulled out, although I can't say if any packing has been done. (Hint: if you're guessing no, you would be correct.)

It's a little surreal. Two of my friends are studying abroad in Italy and I am currently living vicariously through them. But it's really weird to think that soon I'll be so incredibly close to them. Sometimes, I genuinely want to back out and just stay rolled up in my mom's bed forever. But then the other day while I was at the bank, I told the representative of my plans for the upcoming year. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Enjoy every second of it, because I am still so mad at myself for not doing the same thing." It just made me realize how frustrated and full of regret I would be if I didn't go.
Violet speaks the truth, y'all.

So here's to a week of goodbyes, adventure, and another blog post in seven days from the other side.

PS do any of you know how incredibly difficult it is to go back to normal writing after spending over 2 hours on your personal statement? Dang, all I wanted to do was insert "nevertheless" or "unequivocally" somewhere in here.