Next year, I’m off: For the first year in three, I’ll be living somewhere other than Chapel Hill. I’ve studied abroad before, but this year I will be utterly unaffiliated with UNC. I’m stopping out.
In maybe the early 2000s, gap years began to punctuate our high school to college transition. Sometimes kids were forced, their acceptance having been delayed. Or maybe they needed to save some money.
Now, gap years figure in to the ceaseless grinding we all feel compelled to keep up. People take gap years to make the next Facebook, become the president of a small country, "save Africa," etc. And so, a time once protected from the zombie-like striving toward academic and extracurricular perfection has been compromised.
Enter in the stop year: I’m working for part of my stop year, sure. But for the better part of it, I’m going to do very little. No matter how well I do it, I will not earn another line on my resume, and the quality of my LinkedIn will remain unaffected. I’m going to work on a novel, but my main priority will just be reading through the colorful stack of titles that has been accruing on my bedroom floor.
It’s a damn shame that, for so many people I know at school, college has thoroughly beaten all love of learning from their skulls. I’ve learned so much at Carolina, but sometimes it has been despite the harsh workload.