Blogging my gap semester

Attempting to maintain some structure in my life with this weekly blog

With my undergraduate coursework finished and 9 months to go before I start grad school, I’ve decided to take a leave of absence from Penn for the spring semester! I’ll be on campus in an off-campus apartment in Philly but will not be taking classes. I also decided not to take on any full-time roles until the summer, giving me 5 full months to myself with no hard commitments, responsibilities, or deadlines. I haven’t had that kind of freedom since childhood, and I plan to take advantage of every second of it!

Why I’m taking a gap semester

Many college students decide to take a gap year before starting college to get a better sense of what they want to do after they graduate. I’m sort of in the opposite position. I came into Penn knowing I’d be sub-matriculating into grad school after 3 years of undergrad. Somewhere toward the beginning of my sophomore year, I learned that I’d be able to finish a semester early with my credits from high school, so I’ve been planning for this break ever since.

Some stuff I’m hoping to do

While I won’t force myself to be hyperproductive and get an insane amount done each day, I’m hoping to implement some structure in my life without classes to ground me. I’ll be continuing my research and tutoring part-time jobs from last semester, along with a new freelance design gig. If I’m still feeling a lack of structure after the first few weeks, I plan to search for a part-time job or volunteering gig that involves people skills to keep me sane.

The purpose of this blog

I’m not a writer. I saw essay-writing as a painful necessity to my education. So why would I choose to write during my semester of freedom from school? For one, I hope to grow and learn a lot about myself during this time, and I hope blogging will be a good way to keep track of the experiences that will be shaping me. In addition, I imagine that it’ll easy to let the days just slip away if there’s nothing to hold me accountable. Perhaps I’ll even grow to enjoy writing, or at least be less averse to it!

student @penn & designer @pennlabs | portfolio @ jesstan.me

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