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We are just two days away from darling daughter’s first day of college.  Exciting!  There is a good deal of organizing, packing, and prepping going on.  Several of her friends have already started school.  One of her friends is taking a gap year.  A gap year is a year off between high school and college.

I took  a gap year, long before it was a thing.  In 1985, when I graduated from high school, most people either started college or started working after graduation.  In fact, I had been accepted by the one and only college to which I had applied.  But I always wanted to be a foreign exchange student.  Earlier in the year, I had interviewed with the local Rotary Club and had been selected as an exchange student in their international student exchange program.  I was to travel to Quito, Ecuador. 

I wrote my college admissions department a letter asking for my admittance to be deferred for one year so that I could travel to Ecuador for the following school year.  The school agreed. I imagine the school considered that the travel would enrich me as a student, especially considering I was a local, small town girl.  The school was going to hold my place for me.

Most my peers did not understand why I wanted to take a year off or why I wanted to travel to Ecuador.  Some admitted they didn’t know where Ecuador was.  I never doubted my decision.  I was certain it was the right thing for me to do

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Darling daughter has traveled twice to Mumbai, India and once to London, England with her high school.  I am not surprised that she talks about spending her junior year in college abroad.  Not surprised at all. I am glad she is going straight on to college, but we will definitely be on the lookout for travel opportunities.

Yours, Merryweather