(def.) A year that you take off from ‘normal’ life, namely hole up at home and veg out, away from real responsibilities, basically adult stuff.
This year that I took off from real life, has been strange. I took a vacation because I got rejected from the one university I wanted to get into, and therefore I wallowed in self pity and stayed home. It’s taken me 11 months to find the guts to face up to it and make a set of survival rules. SO.
HOW TO STAY SANE DURING YOUR GAP YEAR:
1. Deny deny. Basically, go into self imposed denial. Strike a bright pose, open a random book and tell anyone who passes by that you’re most definitely not going to waste this year. Just because you didn’t get into university doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You’ll learn an instrument, you’ll learn a language, yeah, you should learn to just get real. Chances are, you’ll spend your days in sweatpants with a bag of chips and/or a batch of brownies that you made in the microwave, because you’re just that lazy now.
2. Get Emotional. Once you’ve snapped out of sweet denial, it can be difficult to face reality. You’ll scream at people for no reason. You’ll suddenly start seeing friends who’re in college and hating their lives, hating yourself and hating your gap year. You’ll probably become one of those people who throw their cats on their laptop, because a happy Facebook timeline will disgruntle you. You’ll start bawling when you see happy shiny people on Nickelodeon. Don’t let this happen. Realize that this year can actually become your best friend…sort of.
3. Go Into A Mental Coma. All the negativity will inevitable strangle you to the point of unresponsiveness. You’ll see your siblings living lives, going out with friends. Friends, you know, the ones you used to have before they went to college too. At this point, you’ll probably be so messed in the head, you’ll go into self imposed exile. You’ll get your headphones, listen to some feeling-filled music and shake your head at everything. This is rock bottom. You really can’t sink lower. At this point, other things will start cropping up. For example, you’ll suddenly remember that time in grade 3 when you fought with your best friend, or when the teacher yelled at you. Trivial things like that. Old memories will start to sting. This will feel awful, but remember. It’s the last thing. It’ll get better from here.
4. Open Your Eyes. You’ll wake up and see the world anew. Suddenly, those happy people on Facebook and Twitter will seem attractive. You’ll message an old friend, asking about college, and reconnect with everyone you left behind. You’ll feel better about yourself, and see all the free time you have as something positive, and will even take your pet dog/cat/pigeon out for a walk or kill. Live this moment, because it won’t come back. This happy dopamine infused person you’ve become won’t last. I’m sorry.
5. Philosophize. This is the last and possibly permanent stage of the gap year. You’ll start to become philosophical about everything. For example, when a sibling asks you for advice, you’ll say “I can give you this advice because I know so much more now. I’ve literally grown up in the past year.” and so on…you’ll have some ups and downs. At times you’ll feel content and at others you’ll contemplate poison. You’ll feel like a failure, you’ll feel like a deity. You’ll feel bipolar. Not to worry, this stage will last, but it’s not that bad. And inasmuch you think you’ve grown too old for college, you haven’t. This was just one year in a string of numerous more, and someday you WILL look back and laugh (or sigh pityingly…). You’ll go to college, party and be okay.
Just get through this year. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Believe me.