It has been two months since I’ve landed in Brazil, but it feels like it was just yesterday that I was preparing myself for the ten-hour flight from Houston…
When posed with the infamous question: “So, what do you plan to study in college?”, many of my peers do not hesitate to answer because somehow, they have their life figured out. They say they want to triple major in International Relations, Economics, Linguistics, and minor in Computer Science and German while also studying abroad in Paris and Japan for 2 years (I’m exaggerating). Then the question is asked of me and I answer with, “I’m still trying to figure it out.” I often wonder how people can readily and confidently state college plans that will greatly influence their overall life. My fear of firmly latching to an area of study without knowing confidently what I want to pursue in college is the main reason why I chose to take a bridge year.
All throughout high school, I learned to play the game—the game of success. I’ve gotten pretty good at conforming to what high school wants me to do—take the harder class, write the better essay, do this and that. By setting up guidelines, the American education system has thoroughly taught its students to follow instructions. Students are expected to follow a vague, narrow pathway to college. The thought of taking time off before starting college is still something that people don’t even consider. Flung straight into college after high school, many students often have trouble picturing their career paths and where their passions lie. By taking a transformative year after high school exploring an unknown location and actively volunteering, students become better prepared for the challenges of college. Students will walk into college life and see clearer goals through a worldly lens.
I first heard of Tufts 1+4 when I visited Tufts during their Voices of Tufts Diversity Experience program and the more and more I thought about the opportunity, the harder and harder it was to deny its benefits. I looked forward into the future, not 4 years, but 20 years and I asked myself how I would feel with my decision to defer college for a year to learn a new language and to gain new perspectives. The choice was obvious. I decided to jump off the traditional pathway created by society and into a world in which will undoubtedly learn more about myself and have experiences that change how I perceive the world around me.