Friday, 23 November 2012

Planning and Preparing for a gap year: by a student for fellow students

Gap Year Can Present Opportunity if Planned Correctly

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 11:10
Courtesy of Hugh Grannum/MCT
Students are increasingly taking gap years in-between high school and college to pursue non-academic interests.

More high school graduates are deciding that time away from the classroom is a better decision for them from college. The Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-LosAngeles says about 1.2 percent of up-and-coming college freshmen will take a year off before heading to a university.
That is not a huge number, but it is a growing trend. And hey, why not spend a year exploring a new country, learning a new language or working to earn some money to pay for school?
Jeff Coltin, FCRH ’15, columnist for The Ram, wrote that he likes the idea of a gap year. He says that he would like to visit a Spanish-speaking country to learn the language intensively.
Bernie Stratford is the director of experimental education at Fordham University’s Office of Career Services. He says that if young adults are productive with their gap years, it can look good on a resume. 
“With the marketplace being as volatile and as dynamic as it is, employers are interested in students’ experiences,” Stratford said. “I don’t even consider the gap year a year off, it’s just another year developing your employability and developing as a person.”
Padding a resume is not the only reason people are delaying going to college; some students need time to save up cash. According to USA Today, tuition went up 15 percent from 2008 to 2010. Administrators in Fordham University’s Office of Admission say they understand that some students must defer going to college for a year because of financial reasons.
“Since 2008, we’ve seen more students expressing the need to save for college,” John Buckley, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment, said. “Economic reasons [among deferring students] have probably climbed in recent years.”
The gap year can have its downsides, as some young adults struggle to find the motivation to get back into the swing of things. A study done in 2003 by the National Center for Education Statics shows that only roughly 15 percent of students who waited a year to go to college picked up a bachelor’s degree. In that same report, 44 percent of those who went straight to a university got their diploma.
There are some high school graduates who defer enrollment for a year and take classes at a community college. This is a risk, as students who perform poorly at a local school can hurt their status at other universities.
 “If they [gap year students] go to another school for a period of time to strengthen their academic profile, there would be a reassessment of their credentials” Buckley said.
Stratford agrees that anyone thinking about time off should have a strategy in place.
“If you’re going to take a year off, make sure you have a plan because the importance of receiving an undergraduate degree speaks for itself,” he said.
The U.S. Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections has some tips for those interested in taking a gap year. The department says students should figure out how their financial aid will be affected by talking to the school they are interested in attending. It is also important to plan out a budget that calculates living expenses for the year.
After talking with Fordham’s Office of Admission, career services and students on the Rose Hill campus, I thought about whether I would have taken a year off before coming to Fordham knowing what I do now. I could have gone to Italy, learned Italian and found a nice Italian gal to settle down with in Venice. Luckily, coming to the Big Apple from a small suburb in Arizona has worked out pretty well for me so far.
“The whole idea of a year off sounds like a good time,” Martin McCormack, FCRH ’15, said. “But I don’t regret my decision to come to New York City. I’m having a blast here.”
I could not agree more.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Keeping a Pulse on our Gappers & the News.

Have you wondered what some of our gappers are up to around the world?  Currently, we have several gappers traveling, preparing to embark, and many that are just beginning their journey.  We look forward to some guest blogs by one of our gappers in the coming weeks.  For now, let's explore the South American adventures of one of our gappers who is currently travelling our wonderful world.

Of Buses and Beaches

Trip StartSep 17, 2012
Trip EndDec 06, 2012

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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Greetings from South America!

Following our Machu Picchu excursion, we packed our bags and began our week long voyage to the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador. Lucky for us though, there were quite a few stops along the way!

The first of said stops was in Lima, the capital of Peru and one of the largest cities in all of South America. The city itself was unlike any we have visited thus far in terms of both size and nature. It is a city of extremes and in the the short time we spent there we were exposed to modern urbanization and rich cultural tradition, extreme wealth and rampant poverty, as well as both the very familiar and the inherently strange.

As soon as we dropped off our bags, many of us decided to visit the catacombs of the San Franciscan Friary in the heart of the historical district

Mancora Beach
Mancora Beach
. For hundreds of years this crypt has housed the remains of many saints and monks, and today is widely regarded as one of the jewels of the city. Following our tour, a short ten minute walk took us to the main plaza, an area that looked like it could have belonged in Western Europe. The plaza consisted of many high end boutiques and department stores, and also played host to the first McDonald´s any of us have seen in the last two months (interesting to note, that here McDonald´s is more along the lines of a legitimate restaurant as opposed to its more traditional role of fast food back home). As night fell, we decided to stay in the hostal (not wanting to take any unnecessary risks in a city as large as Lima), playing instruments, telling ghost stories, and mentally preparing  ourselves for the days ahead.

The next day we boarded a bus destined for Mancora, a town situated in the beautiful northern beaches of Peru. The ride was a twenty hour haul up the coast, made nice by the luxury bus we decided to splurge on. Although the ride sounded awfully intimidating beforehand, many of us used the time to begin our vacation a little bit early, catching up on some sleep, reading, and watching movies (the bus attendants were nice enough to play several in English, as our group took up more than three quarters of the bus).By the time we arrived in Mancora we were already in full relaxation mode . We changed into our bathing suits and picked our favorite hammocks as the next two days passed in a blur.

Our first night we built a bonfire on the sand and were serenaded under the stars by Noah and Shawn. I think the old saying is true that ¨music is the universal language,¨ because not long after the instruments were brought out, were we joined by the other members of the hostal. Soon we had Americans, Canadians, Germans, and Argentinians all singing around the fire. It was truly a sight to see (and hear)! This was also the night of the presidential election and everybody, no matter the nationality, was interested in the outcome. The few with wi-fi enabled devices kept us all updated on the latest news, and when the final decision was announced, those of us who were still awake celebrated Obama´s victory with a couple of late night hamburgers.

Mancora passed all too fast, and before long we found ourselves on another bus, this time headed for Cuenca, our first stop in Ecuador and the beginning of the last leg of our three month journey through South America. We crossed the border with no problems and arrived in Cuenca late at night. Not to worry though, because the next day we had ample time for independent exploration of the old colonial town . We stayed in the middle of the historical district. The streets were cobblestone, the buildings old, and each corner, it seemed, had a church and a bakery.

First impressions of Ecuador had us realizing that there is something different about this country than the others we have visited thus far, although none of us could seem to place our finger on it. Perhaps it is a more modern culture with less of an Aymaran and Quechuan influence, or perhaps it is a tad bit newer or the area as whole cleaner. It is too early to tell for sure, but we are all excited to see and experience more of this new chapter of the trip.

Again, after having only spent two nights in Cuenca we boarded another bus to Baños, a city known for its natural baths and outdoor adventure. With just a two night stay to enjoy one of Ecuador´s main attractions, we decided to make the most of it. Donning our wetsuits and life jackets, we braved the whitewater rapids of the Rio Verde.  We left with more than a few stories to tell. It is safe to say that this rafting adventure has definitely been one of the highlights of the trip thus far!

Feeling rested and relaxed after our mini vacation of sorts, we are now all eager to begin the next portion of our adventure -- the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest . It is sure to be a difficult two weeks both mentally and physically, although for many of us it is the challenge we have most looked forward to. We will not have access to internet and so, unfortunately, there will not be another blog post for quite some time. However, as the holiday season nears, we would like to say that we love and miss all of you back home and wish you the very best. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Friday, 2 November 2012

Up in the Air & AQ

World Airline Routes Map

Above is the flight patterns throughout the globe over time. Pretty interesting, no? The 
way the artist has captured them shows how truly beautiful it is that we can see the world
through flight.

Sometimes when we are up the in air, things change, we change and maybe we become different people. What happens to you when you are up the air? On an episode of Definitely Not the Opera, the team explores life Up in the Air. This podcast shares a series of stories of 
things that have happened to others while they are off the ground having adventures.

Why does this matter when talking about mygapyear?

In our work, we explore emotion intelligence. In a recent visit to Psychology Today, we 
found a self-assessment for your AQ - any guesses what that could be?

Adventure Quotient (AQ) Test

On the site you will read the following: 

77 questions, 30 min 

How adventurous are you? Thrill-seeking can come in different forms, whether it's doing a swan dive bungee jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand, or trying that new exotic restaurant around the corner from work. The type of adventure you enjoy (or avoid) depends a great deal on your personality. Are you more of a planner or spontaneous? Courageous or careful? Do you have the energy level of a bee or a sloth? Find out more about your adventure personality with this test!

Examine the following statements and choose the answer option that best applies to you. There may be some questions describing situations that may not be relevant to you. In such cases, select the answer you would most likely choose if you ever found yourself in that type of situation. In order to receive the most accurate results, please answer as truthfully as possible.

After finishing the test, you will receive a Snapshot Report with an introduction, a graph and a personalized interpretation for one of your test scores. You will then have the option to purchase the full results.