A Glimpse Into January-London Students' Gap Semesters

Gap semesters have become more common in recent years for people who want time to focus on non-academic interests or simply take a break from the past 12 years of non-stop school. For the students in Boston University’s Boston-London program, however, taking a gap semester is a condition of being accepted into the university. In the College of General Studies, the January Boston-London students are given a gap semester in the fall of their freshman year, come to campus in January for their spring semester, and then complete a six-week semester in London over the summer.  Here are three student’s experiences with their compulsory gap semesters.

Joyce Doherty, Journalism major (and writer for Her Campus)

Credit: Joyce Doherty (from Instagram)

What did you do for your gap semester?

“I worked in a business office, saved money and went to community college. Attended class once a day, except Fridays." When she wasn’t in class or at school, she was prepping for Boston, like getting sweaters and coats, and relaxing and enjoying the sun (she’s from California).

“Working was good, I got a lot of good experience in office work, but I was the youngest one there.”

Do you think you got the most out of your gap semester? Or do you wish you could’ve done something different?

"I think what I did was practical, but I guess I wish I could’ve done something different."

Would you describe your gap semester as overall positive or negative?

"I guess neutral. I felt like I could’ve kept myself a bit busier, ‘cause there wasn’t much to do."

Mira Sachdeva, Computer Science and Film & TV major

Credit: Mira Sachdeva (from Instagram)

What did you do for your gap semester?

“I spent my time in NYC studying some college courses at NYU. When I wasn’t in class, I was busy completing my gap semester bucket list."

What was on that bucket list?

I was kinda a straight-edge kid in high school with not much time to explore things outside of my activities, so it was stuff that I always wanted to do but couldn’t. Small lifestyle changes and touristy stuff. So, taking a hip-hop class at Alvin Ailey, going to a college party, going to a super famous Broadway show through ticket lottery (Phantom of the Opera). Going on a date with someone was also on the list, but I didn’t get to everything. I wanted to get a tattoo but didn’t end up getting one."

Do you think you got the most out of your gap semester?

“Yeah! I also did a bunch of things that were so fun that I didn’t plan on! I went to outrageous museums, shopped in Soho on Black Friday, and wrote a script. I also won an award in my first hackathon! It got a little lonely at times, but that was also a new experience. Living at home for me was new, I hadn’t lived with my parents full time for the last 4 years so making meals, doing chores every day at home, or even hanging out with my mom was kind of out of the ordinary. And even though I was taking classes at a college, I wasn’t in college. I was in higher level classes with little to no freshman and hanging out when you don’t live in a dorm is hard with brand new college students. So, I ended up spending a good amount of time alone or with high school friends. It was sometimes hard when I saw my friends from high school meet and make new friends in college when I was kinda stuck in this weird in-between place.”

Would you describe your gap semester as overall positive or negative?

“Positive. It had its ups and downs, but I loved it.”

Cammy Britts, undecided major

Credit: Cammy Britts (from Instagram)

What did you do for your gap semester?

"I went to the American University of Paris for a semester, and took a bunch of classes like Psychology, Journalism, Social Anthropology, Painting, and French Culture and Customs."

Do you think you got the most out of your gap semester? Or do you wish you could’ve done something different?

“I think that I did get the most that I could’ve gotten out of my gap semester. I wanted to know how to live on my own, and I knew that I would feel extremely homesick my first semester that I was away at college. I went to Paris because it was kind of like ripping off a band-aid. It’s been super easy here in Boston now and I haven’t felt homesick once since I went for four months on a different continent within an incredibly different time zone without going home. I’m happy I went to Paris because it made me appreciate Boston more, I think."

Would you describe your gap semester as overall positive or negative?

“I think it was overall a positive experience! There were a ton of tough times for the gap semester and I was super homesick a lot of the time, but I’m happy that I went and got to experience Europe and kinda have that as one of the things I’ve done now."

If you know anyone in the CGS London program, ask them about their gap semester! Other people I know in the program have a lot of different experiences and are usually more than willing to share them.

 

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