Opinion, The Maturity Column

Pause that refreshes: creative gap year ideas

Cartoon by Silvana Arguello

Illustration by Silvana Arguello

I just woke up from a nap, and oh, was it a glorious one after waking up early to chauffeur friends to the airport – the only sleep I salvaged was through tiny power naps in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

However, napping has actually been a hot topic recently, especially with the entirety of UM’s population still recovering from a week brimming with booze cruises, or for the ones who went northbound, shoveling.

So napping was still fresh in my mind last week when senior Elaine Golden approached me with an idea that could produce the perfect recovery opportunity for seniors like her.

“Well, it’s a nonprofit called ‘Gap Year N.A.P. Year,’ which provides college students the opportunity to take a funded gap year after undergrad,” she said.

I desperately wanted to call the program ‘Gap Year N.A.P. Organization,’ so the acronym could be “G.Y.N.O.” But apparently this would cut the target gender in half.

Regardless, Golden already devised her primary acronym in N.A.P. – New Academic Perspective – and she has a whole vision of how this could benefit students.

“With ‘Gap Year N.A.P. Year,’ we would work with fellows to design horizontally-structured projects for their time in the program,” she said.

This got my engine pumpin’ and bumpin’ in my head. There’s just a whole new world of ideas to be discovered if students had an entire year to explore themselves – ideas that are shining, shimmering and splendid. Make a dream board? Maybe even work on a new fake laugh for when old ladies make a pun with my last name?

“All of those would be fine projects,” she said. “We don’t want to set limits and stifle creativity. Our main focus would be to provide participants with time for introspection and reflection.”

Well, though I might utilize this opportunity for slumber, I decided to gather the student opinion on how to fulfill this commitment instead.

“I want to get an ethnicity DNA test and go to whatever region in Africa I test positive for,” sophomore Becca Carter said.

This sounded interesting – I didn’t know a DNA test could tell you where you were from. I guess my New Jersey roots would read as: “His DNA keeps trying to telling us it’s New York DNA.”

So I kept searching, eager to gather ideas for self-reflection perfection.

“I don’t know what I would do with one ear,” freshmen Jaajir Jones said.

Maybe that’s why he didn’t hear me right…

“Oh, one year? Oh, then there’s one thing I would do: Africa. Anywhere in Africa,” Jones said.

Wow, another travel-supporter. In fact, as I kept questioning students about what they would do with another year, voyaging abroad was the most popular answer.

Sophomore Tony Marks told me she would participate in a Viking canoe race in Norway. Senior Connor Rogers said he would go “drifting” in Japan. Sophomore Toni Farrell told me she’s pre-med, so she’s not allowed to have fun. Okay, except for pre-med students.

Well, traveling would certainly take more energy than napping, but there would be plenty of time to get my shut-eye on the plane ride.

Danny New is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. “The Maturity Column” runs alternating Mondays.

March 21, 2015

Reporters

Danny New


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

He is considered among the finest defensive line coaches in the nation. And now, according to a writ ...

This is the time of year when every win or loss can make a difference in a team’s NCAA Tournament ch ...

Mike Brey doesn't pay much attention to the NBA draft stock of opposing players, but the Notre ...

He used to be a Gator. But junior Danny Reyes is plenty happy to be back home and playing for the Un ...

It’s a Wednesday morning, and one by one, the familiar Hurricane faces make their way into the non-d ...

At the University of Miami, the professor has the last word on whether students can use their laptop ...

Members of the University of Miami first response teams remind us of resources available and what to ...

Mexican activist, poet and novelist Javier Sicilia deplored the violence stemming from the “drug war ...

From the North Pole to the South Pole and everywhere in between, the art of UM alumnus Xavier Cortad ...

Walker IV scored 19, Izundu scored 14 and the Canes picked up a crucial win in South Bend. ...

The No. 25-ranked University of Miami women's golf team moved into a sixth-place tie on day two ...

After a standout first weekend at the plate with the No. 24 Hurricanes, Miami's Danny Reyes was ...

Miami women's basketball notched an impressive 77-62 triumph Sunday at Virginia, giving head co ...

Former University of Miami track and field standouts Shakima Wimbley and Tiffany Okieme were among t ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.