The Skandalaris Center hosted an IdeaBounce® event for gap year students on November 3rd, 2021. Students who had taken a gap year gathered to share their experiences on what they did during this time and what they learned from these experiences, all while using the rapid-fire IdeaBounce® approach.
Each student was given two minutes to provide the details of why they chose to take a gap year, and provided details of their experience. While each student’s experience was unique to them, there was a common theme as to why they chose to take a gap year: COVID-19 and the changes it brought to the educational environment.
“Hearing each student’s experiences on how they utilized this time to grow and explore new things is inspiring” said Jessica Weldon, the Assistant Director of Programs for the center. “The students were excited to share their experiences and connect with other students who chose to take time from school and explore other possibilities”, she said.
Some students chose to have an experience that would push them out of their comfort zones, such as Aisha Adedayo (Beyond Boundaries) who joined the Army National Guard, and Lia Greendfeld-Gordon (LA ‘ 25) who spent some time working on an organic farm (WWOOF). Other students, such as Tony Sims (BU/EN ’22) and Trey Rudolph (EN ’23) put their gap years to use by creating and developing digital apps. Josh Mandel (LA ’25) also used this time to be creative by writing seven full screenplays.
“Looking back on my gap year, it was a lot about my own personal growth”, said Avery Beber (LA ’25) who took a long backpacking trip through Utah and ran a half marathon during her gap year. “I learned personally about myself and how I deal with conflict”, she said.
Over 100 current WashU students have taken a form of a gap year. Whether it is in between high school and undergraduate studies, during their pursuit of an undergraduate degree, or between their undergrad and graduate programs, students utilize this time to explore their boundaries and learn from new experiences.