Confined in a Cubicle: My Gap Year Experience

I'm the kind of girl who drives her 15-year-old car, properly named The Death Trap, through a blizzard for a bagel with lox. I'm the kind of girl who has to say, "I'm not sure if this is going to work," every single time she hands the cashier her credit card. I'm the kind of girl who diagnoises herself with early onset Alzheimer's Disease after spending a Friday night excessively reading WebMD.

That being said, I'm definitely not the girl who works a full-time job in the confinement of a cubicle at the tender age of 18 years old. Or am I? While all my friends escaped our home town and began experimenting with jungle juice and all-nighters in libraries last year, let's just say I took one for the team and stayed back home to hold down the fort. That's a complete lie: I couldn't get a student loan for the life of me, so I took a gap year in order to build my own credit. Thanks, Obama.* In the meantime, I was given the incredible opportunity to work a full-time office job (for which I was very, very under qualified). Slowly but surely, I stopped taking dance classes, spending late nights in dimly lit cafes, and freeing the nipple with my friends. I began worrying about my car insurance, packing brown paper bag lunches, and looking forward to casual Fridays. Altogether, I was losing myself as this insipid job sucked away what was left of my creativity.

Six months went by and I found out that my boyfriend cheated on me, so we broke up (It wasn't that simple. There was a lot of confusion and listening to Amy Winehouse invovled ). I came into work that Monday and suddenly realized that I wasn't okay with the small talk held at the water cooler. Now that I didn't have my security blanket, the comfort of a boyfriend to brighten my otherwise monotonous days, what was my purpose? So, I retreated to the bathroom, called my mom, and had a generic melt down. "Stop crying," sure assured me, "just another six months. You can do this - think about all the money you've already saved." My family was extremely proud of how responsible I was being for, what seemed like, selling my soul to Satan and taking this office job for the sake of a savings account. 

So, I have this huge pile of money to sit on, but not an ounce of happiness. What does one do? Normally, as proven by my co-workers who have been loyal employees to the company for decades now, you suck it up and use those pretty paychecks as motivation to get out of bed every morning. It's like running on a treadmill on full speed with a check and health benefits being dangeled before your eyes for all of eternity. That being said, being the impulsive gal that I am, I quit my job. Just like that. The euphoric rush I got from that sense of freedom could have put orgasms out of business. 

I may be rash, and you can go as far as to say that I am self-destructive; however, I only have one single life (unless you believe in reincarnation or you're a cat) and I don't plan on wasting it away in a tiny, little cubicle. A lot of people reached out to me, weary about my decision. They were blinded by how much money I was making at such a stable job, espeically for my age. And that's the thing, I'm so young and I didn't know if that was a bad call. But I do know that it's okay to make mistakes and it's okay to not know exactly where the line is drawn between right and wrong. But it's not okay to waste even a single day's worth of my time. That day can be utilized in a way not only to better myself, but my surroundings as well. Quitting my job may have seemed like a waste of money, but in my eyes, keeping that job was a waste of my potential. The second you begin to feel comfortable, it is time to make a change. It is only in times of discomfort, or even fear, that you have the chance to learn more about yourself. 

Also, I must be transparent and admit that it was harder to support my Ben & Jerry's addicition after quitting this job. However, now that I am attending The New School and can reflect back on this experience, I understand the important of fulfilling the spontaneous and passionate life that I love. At first, the idea of a gap year killed me. I was terrified that I would fall behind the rest of my peers in that year spent away from academics or that I may never actually go back to school. But, after living through this experience, I can clearly see that these fears stemmed from the idea that I wasn't following the traditional route. Maybe in  America, a gap year isn't typical or ideal, but I am certain that I wouldn't be the motivated and resilient student that I am today if I didn't take that year off to work for what I wanted. 

*I'm not actually blaming President Obama directly for the fact that I couldn't get a student loan for college. I was just using that extremely worn out joke one last time before his term ends.*