Category Archives: Guest Posts

Taking a Gap Year is Beneficial

gap year

In our society today, or at least in America’s, it’s normal to graduate from high school and go straight to college… or not.  You either go to college right away or not at all.  There isn’t really an in between that we recognize.  It’s common for a 17-18 year old in their senior year of high school to say, “I’m going to take a year off before I go to college,” but to my knowledge, 9 times out of 10 they never end up going to college.

I was one of those students who took a year off, and ended up going to college when the year was up.

From what I understand, in other countries it’s not unusual to take a year off between graduating high school/secondary school before going off to a university.  I was intrigued when I first heard of this concept at the end of my high school career, since I had always planned on going straight to college after graduation.  The problem with my plan was that I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to major in when I got there.  Since I didn’t want to end up changing majors later in college, or dropping out, and essentially wasting time and money, I decided to take a gap year to decide what I wanted to do.

During my gap year I ended up moving, three times, along with my twin brother and a few other people (cousins, friends…).  My twin and I, along with one of our younger brothers (the owner of this blog), ended up starting our own freelance photography business out of a common interest we share.  Right away I took charge and began planning out how it would work – what times we were available, possible locations to use, which types of photography we would specialize in due to our interests and skill, etc.  We are still doing a few jobs here and there, but now that I’m across the state from my brothers it’s not something that is on the top of our lists anymore.

But in doing that work to make our business work I realized something, I enjoyed the business planning more than I enjoyed the photography part of it.  I liked taking charge and planning out how our business would work, then doing what needed to be done to make it work.  When this came to light, I started looking into business programs at different universities before deciding on one that had a program I liked, and applied.  I started at the university in January and have not looked back.

So I actually took a little over a year off, but by the time I realized what I wanted to do, it had been a year, then I had to go through the researching and applying process.  And let me tell you, it was nothing that I expected to be interested in or end up studying in college.

Taking a gap year can be one of the most beneficial things a person my age does.  It helps you to gather perspective on what it is you want to do with your life.  I say, if you’re unsure of what you want to do after high school, take a year and just explore your interests.  Or, just take one or two classes at a community college that might interest you.  Anything to help you see where you want your life to go and if college is the way to get there.

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College… It’s Not For Everyone

college isn't for everyone

Going to college really isn’t for everyone.  If you think about it, up until recent years college was mainly for the rich, privileged families and their kids.  Even then, when colleges first began to rise, it was only the rich, white men that went – not women or people of other races.

Thankfully, that’s all changed, and anyone can get into college these days.  Still, not everyone does.

I’m one of them… sorta.

My senior year of high school, I was accepted into a few different colleges, including some Ivy League schools.  I chose to stay in state and go with a pretty well known school, UConn.  One of my sisters was already attending, so I would know at least one person on campus.  Plus, when you live in Connecticut and get into UConn… you’re pretty much a rock star.

So I went.  I majored in Classics – learning about Ancient cultures primarily in Ancient Greece and Rome.  I was never sure where I wanted to go with that major, but I thought the topics were pretty cool so, why not?  My freshman year I passed all my classes with no issues, and I made some good friends.  All was well, right?


I wasn’t happy.  Yeah, I was enjoying myself despite being apart from my twin sister for the first time since, well, ever.  But I wasn’t happy.  I felt like the entire thing was a waste of time.  It didn’t help that I had broken up with my girlfriend of over 3 years because I messed up really bad (thankfully, we worked things out and she’s my wife now, but that’s another story).  So instead of signing up for classes the next fall, I dropped out of school and just worked full time to plan my next move.

One of my friends had gone to a technical school for video and radio production after high school, and was telling me about it one day when we were hanging out.  I was interested so he gave me the dates for an open house and when I went, I knew it was right for me.  It was an eight week program where you get trained in video or radio – I chose radio because well, radio has always caught my interest.

And my sisters like to tease me and tell me I have a face for radio.

So eight weeks of technical school and an internship later leads me (mostly) to where I am now.  I’m working in an awesome environment as a part-time radio production assistant and host, while also teaching archery and I love every second of it.  I’ve also recently gotten into voice-over acting and am getting a few gigs doing that on the side.

I think back and am glad I made the decision to not continue with college because if I hadn’t, I’d now have a Bachelor’s in Classics and well, that’s it.  I wouldn’t be doing anything with that degree because while I found that interesting, I wasn’t passionate about it.

So for anyone who isn’t sure about college or is in college, but isn’t happy, think about what it is you really want and if having that degree will really get you to where you want to be.  College isn’t for everyone, despite what society tries to tell us – I know damn well it wasn’t for me.  Not going to college doesn’t make anyone a loser, it’s just not where they’re meant to be.

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Jump To Adulthood

jump to adulthood

There’s no manual when it comes to being an adult.  You have to figure out everything for yourself.  The only thing you know for sure is that you need a job so you can pay your bills.  But everything else?  Well, you have to figure that out on your own.  That’s one thing they don’t teach you in high school… or college for that matter.

Back in November 2013, at the tender age of 17, I was thrown headfirst into adulthood with the loss of my parents, as were my siblings.  Of course, my older siblings were already out on their own managing their own lives.  How?  I’m still not sure.

But as for my twin, my younger brothers and myself… we had absolutely no idea what we’d be facing in the next year and a half.  Sure, my younger brothers are still in high school, so they don’t have to worry about the actual ‘adulthood’ part of it all yet, however my twin and I had just graduated high school and adulthood was something we had to come to terms with, fast.

At first, I didn’t think I’d end up surviving on my own in a different state from my older siblings.  I figured I’d be living with one of them within a month after the accident, maybe two.  I know the only reason I was even able to push on and take my first step into the adult world was with the help of my cousin and her husband, and of course, my girlfriend and her best friend.  They didn’t necessarily “take me in” as much as they took me “under their wing” to help me out when it came to knowing how to finance a car, take out a lease on an apartment and all that other fun adult stuff.

Really, without them, I’d be living in my oldest sister’s basement… or in a cardboard box.

There’s a fine line between still being a kid and an adult for me, as I am only 18 (soon to be 19).  I’m in college and I still go out to skateboard and play soccer, but at the same time I’m living with my girlfriend and a few friends and we’re supporting ourselves.  I have a job so I can pay such bills and I’m learning to cook my own food.  I think the only thing I still don’t do is my laundry (my girlfriend is kind enough to take care of that before I can even get to it).  On the outside it seems like I have it all together, but on the inside I’m still as scared as I was when I first heard about my parents’ accident.

Life comes at you fast; you never know what’s going to happen or when you’re going to be ripped out of your childhood and thrown into the adult world.  Enjoy every moment and don’t have any regrets.

And thanks to Sly for letting me guest post this week.  Love ya bro.

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