How a Gap Year Changed my Best Friend

How a Gap Year Changed my Best Friend

87
views

When my best friend Kallie graduated from high school last year she didn’t spend the summer picking out bedding or searching for a roommate. Instead, she spent the summer prepping for an incredible year of travel and growth and change. My friend Kallie spent this past year taking a gap year. According to Kallie it was the best decision she has ever made.

Kallie always knew that she wanted to do something different between high school and college. She never knew exactly what that “different” thing would be, but she knew it would be amazing. Kallie spent nearly six months researching and planning the perfect year. Ultimately she decided on an incredible itinerary that started with two months in Cape Eluthera, Bahamas at The Cape Eluthera Institute. After a quick pit stop back in Florida, she made her way to Baja, Mexico where she spent three weeks on NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) sailing program. Finally Kallie ended her year studying in Seville, Spain at Universidad de Pablo Olivide for four months.

Kallie learned a lot over the course of one year. One of the coolest parts of her year was discovering her passion: the environment. Without realizing while she was planning her year, all of Kallie’s programs seemed to somehow connect to the environment or conservation. The Cape Eluthera Institute is a facility that combines research and education to enhance conservation initiatives. While there Kallie was educated on the science behind conservation, the marine biology of the Bahamian ecosystem, and up close and personal with a few sharks. On the NOLS program the biggest struggle (but also the greatest teaching tool) was learning how to survive with minimal comforts. Each week food had to be rationed so that it would last an entire week, but also not be wasted at the end of the week. The program focused on living with the environment not fighting against it. Finally in Spain while studying at Universidad de Pablo Olivide one of the classes Kallie took was environmental science. After her three different trips Kallie really became aware of how much she enjoys learning about and helping the environment.

Besides learning about a field she really enjoys, Kallie learned a lot about herself. One of the greatest lessons she learned was truly relishing every moment of everyday. According to Kallie, that lesson was also one of the hardest. While being so far away from home it was very difficult for her to stay in touch with friends and family. Some parts of her year she was not allowed any contact with anyone and other parts she had to overcome time differences and spotty connections. What she had to do was learn to not stress about not being able to communicate with loved ones. What she realized was everyday is an adventure and to live for those adventures.

Kallie said her third greatest takeaway was enjoying the people you meet in life. This, she says, will be her greatest advantage in going to college next year. Kallie knew no one on her programs. She had to start each program completely alone, but ended each with amazing new friends. Kallie thinks this will help her start college with an open mind to every person she meets. She knows now that she can put herself out there and have an amazing time at college.

Kallie feels that without taking her gap year she would not be the same person she is today. Her year was full of growth and change that will only enhance her life and her college experience.

Note from Kallie: “If you are taking a gap year, you are the smartest person I know. If you are thinking about taking a gap year, do it!”

Cover Image Credit: Kallie Atterbury

Popular Right Now

If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
17020
views

I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

What It's Like Being A West Coaster Attending College On The East Coast

From California to New Jersey, here are changes I've encountered and how I've handled them.

113
views

Aside from better pizza and bagels, I've encountered a lot of changes since I've moved to New Jersey. I'm from the coastal side of Los Angeles where rain doesn't exist and you could wear either shorts and a tank top almost everyday of the year and be comfortable.

There's an abundance of coffee shops and little boutiques that occupy some of the coastal front. We don't go "down the shore," we don't have to pay to get on the beach, and we don't have debates on whether it's called pork roll or Taylor Ham. It was nice knowing that the weather ranges from 65 to 75 about eighty percent of the year. But, at the same time, I like having a variety of seasons.

Apparently leaves falling from trees is an annual thing. Southern California has a small number of deciduous trees, so I experienced a real fall last year. I picked a pumpkin from the vine instead of from a tub at the grocery store and got farm fresh donuts from an actual farm with fields and animals.

I was able to witness a first snow and how pretty the trees look when they're covered. I made a snowman in the back of campus and had a snowball fight with some friends.

I also experienced a terrible snowstorm where my umbrella turned inside out and smacked me in the face and then hit the person behind me. I then tried to go after my umbrella and slipped on some ice which the person also saw...so after that I died of embarrassment in my dorm for the rest of the weekend. There were a lot of ups and downs.

Everything in suburban New Jersey is spread out, so it's been a struggle not having access to a car. Back home in California, a CVS, Target, Office Depot, and even a Spencer's (if you're in that weird shopping mood,) was right around the corner. The other night I tried looking up the nearest Mexican restaurant and it was 15 miles away. The Uber was expensive so I canceled it and decided my basic white girl order of plain chicken tacos with a side of guac wasn't worth the trip.

I've tried remembering major cities in Jersey so that when I meet someone and they talk about where they are from I can say, "Oh, I know where that is!" I try asking about their town, how school was, or their family. The only question I've been asked when telling someone I'm from LA is, "do you know any celebrities?"

I don't really mind the question, I've actually come up with some pretty good fake stories on the spot. I just can't believe people think that the famous actors of Beverly Hills just randomly walk the streets. But just for the record, one time I met Wee-Man from "Jack-Ass" at his chronic taco shop. And yes, I got plain chicken tacos.

Related Content

Facebook Comments