Gap year will help expand horizons, develop new skills


Sofie Geretz

Ever since my oldest sister Anna took a gap year in Israel before her freshman year of college, I have been intrigued by the idea of a gap year. When Anna came back, she had nothing but good things to say. 

During the fall of my senior year, and the time to make my decision on what I wanted to do directly after high school was approaching, I decided that I would follow in Anna’s footsteps and go on a gap year as well. The gap year program I’m planning to attend is called Young Judaea Year Course in Israel, which happens to be the program my sister went on. Half of the year is spent in Jerusalem and the other half is spent in Tel Aviv. The program is a mix of college classes, volunteering and trips around Israel and surrounding countries. I am really excited to take in all of the culture and learn more Hebrew when I’m there. Going on a gap year in Israel will also help me mature and develop my Jewish identity, which will in turn help me become a more responsible, well-rounded adult in society.

Of course with COVID-19, everything is pretty unclear and nothing is for sure going to take place. I am not sure what will happen with my program and whether or not they will have to cancel or shorten it. However, I already deferred from the college I am committed to, so I’ll be taking a gap year either way. I have also heard a lot of other current seniors are beginning to consider a gap year as well because of the uncertainty for fall classes and whether or not they will be in person or online.

It is stressful being in this state of unknown, but I know everyone is doing everything they can to make sure we are safe and also able to continue our post-high school endeavors, which I really appreciate. It is also really nice to know that everyone is in the same boat and no one is alone in how they are feeling. I think that if we are optimistic and stay open-minded about our plans, we can still gain skills and make it a worthwhile year, even if it turns out differently than what we had initially imagined. I am sure my gap year will be a year of growth and new experiences for me, no matter what happens.