I did not expect a summer job to affect my career prospects. As my study abroad opportunity in Chile finished, I realized I had more than a month available to work. However, not many people are willing to hire an individual for only one month. But, I noticed an opportunity to work with Career Services as a fellowship intern to research and build our fellowship resources. Yet, the most unintended consequence of this funding was our Gap Year Program resources.
Over the summer while working on our Career Services’ web site to create a new fellowship section, I noticed our underdeveloped gap-year program resources. After talking with Assistant Director James Jeffries and Director Scott Crawford, they let me redesign and boost our gap year resources and information. This gap year refocus seemed to impact our graduating student body, including myself.
This upcoming summer I will begin working with Citizen Schools as a Teaching Fellow. I will work for two years on the South Side of Chicago in a struggling middle school that extends their school day by three hours to give students more individualized attention and experiential learning. Though the program’s extended learning time, Citizen Schools hope to break the vicious cycle of the underprivileged by giving them real-world experience and academic mentoring.
Other students have undertaken similar challenges to handle global and international struggles. This year over 5% of our student body have accepted positions to teach and volunteer in prestigious gap-year programs!
- · Tyler Griffin, Teach for America, Atlanta, GA
- · Jose Herrera, Teach for America, Indianapolis, IN
- · Alejandro Maya, Teach for America, Tulsan City, OK
- · Francisco Olivia, Teach for America, Indianapolis, IN
- · Wyatt Lewis, Schuler Program, Chicago, IL
- · Ronnie Sullivan, Schuler Program, Chicago, IL
- · Garrett Wilson, Citizen Schools, Chicago, IL
- · Matt Paul, Culver Academies, Culver, IN
- · Charles Hintz, Peace Corps, Mozambique, Africa
- · Keaton Becher, Cross Hill Mennonite School, Cross Hill, SC
- · Logan Rice, Wuxi Big Bridge Academy, English Teacher, Wuxi China
Until recently, gap year programs have been uncommon in the United States. Many gap year programs developed over the past 20 years in a variety of different fields ranging from agricultural, education, civic service and internships. Now, thousands of recent high school and college graduates are exploring gap-year possibilities before and after college.
If you are unsure what you want to do after college or want to try something different, try a gap-year program. You will be able to travel, explore and go outside your comfort zone. I am nervous about my experience, but I am ready to try something unexpected.