Addy Cain graduated Sunapee Middle High School in Sunapee, NH with the class of 2013. Although she has accepted admission to Simmons College in Boston, MA, she chose to take a gap year before beginning to college. I met Addy Cain at the 2013 Harvard Model Congress and was excited to learn that she would be going to college in the same city as me; however, I was even more excited (and slightly jealous) when I found out about the gap year that she was taking that involved working and trekking in Nepal. I had the opportunity to sit down with Addy and talk to her about her gap year experience so far.
How did you first learn about gap years?
I know some other people who graduated from my school before me that had also taken gap years and volunteered abroad, so they really got me interested in it.
When did you decide to take a gap year yourself?
I made a definite decision the beginning of senior year, but proceeded to apply to colleges with the rest of my grade, just deferring after I got in, then began researching where I was going to go to volunteer.
What made you decide that it was the right decision for you?
I knew I wasn’t ready to jump right back into the academic world because I had really run myself down taking a lot of hard classes during high school, so that made taking a gap year even more appealing. I was also dying to travel and see more of the world. I thought taking a gap year would also help give me more of a jumping point to what I actually want to do for the rest of my life, and specifically what I want to study in college.
Did you have any initial doubts or worries about taking a gap year?
I wasn’t too worried, just the normal fears about going out into the world alone, and in the beginning I was a little concerned about not being able to find good programs to work with during my year
Were your parents supportive of your decision?
They were 100% supportive. My brother went to art school, which is what I want to go to school for partially, and didn’t end up completing his time there, so they were all for me making sure I knew what I wanted before going into things
How did you choose what to do during your gap year?
When looking into what my options were for my gap year I immediately knew three things: I wanted to work with children, travel, and volunteer. After searching and searching I finally found the perfect program, a Nepali homestay and volunteer placement program that would not only let me work in an orphanage, but also in a school for lower class children.
What was your favorite part of your gap year experience?
I’m not done with my year yet, but thus far I’d have to say teaching at the school in Nepal was my favorite part, it was definitely the most rewarding and I really got to see what it is like to live in a whole other world and how different it is from how we conduct our day to day lives
Would you recommend a gap year to other people?
I would very highly recommend it, it definitely gives you a better idea of who you are and what the world around you is really like. It gives you perspective and makes you learn things you could never learn in an academic setting. It also helps you if you are uncertain about what you want to study, there shouldn’t be a rush and that should be emphasized more.
If you want to learn more about Addy’s gap year experience, definitely go check out her blog (though be warned, extreme jealousy WILL occur)!