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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”  

Tracee Ellis Ross

A few months out from graduation, I am finding myself in a daunting situation. I am being pushed to take a gap year, and not the cool, travel-the-world kind. 

If you asked me a year ago what my plans were after graduation, I’d say I was going to graduate school. Now, the closer it gets to application deadlines, the more that scares me. A lot of factors go into a decision of that magnitude: relocating, cost, choice of program, and more. Applying also requires more effort and time than I accounted for, which is just not a burden I can take on as I am trying to graduate. While taking time off from school is the last thing I want to do, I feel it’s the only choice I have. Although I have ideas, I just can’t confidently say I know what I want yet. 

Realistically, I could jump into a program for the sake of time. Yet, this idea raises fear-based questions: What if I choose the wrong program? What if I relocate and hate where I live? What if I make the wrong choice and waste all this time, money and effort? Amidst the anxiety induced ramblings in my brain, I do hear a still, small voice. A thought that brings me peace: What if taking time off is just what I need?

I’ve started to open my mind to the idea that it’s just fine to take a “pause” in my journey. I feel the pressure of the social clock, especially when I compare myself to my peers who already know what they will be doing. There is so much fear in not knowing. What if I have no idea where I’ll live or work or do in the next year? My journey seems to be taking a detour, but I want to be okay with that. 

There are many tangible benefits to taking a gap year, such as better work experience, networking, and saving money. While I do plan to focus on those things, I am trying to be open to the growth I could endure in my personal development. There is such a need to know exactly what’s next, to have the next journey mapped out. For me, I have literally no idea! And that’s okay! I think there is power in surrendering to the journey, rather than the destination. 

I’d like to think the Universe rewards us for taking our time. I know my journey requires the work to be put in, yet it wants to follow a timeline that is meant for me. I am terrified to say I have no idea what is on the horizon for me, but I have to admit, it’s a little exciting. I trust my future self will be proud of me for holding onto that glimmer of hope. I am looking forward to finding out what she knows. 

Abigale Darnell (she/her) is a student in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University with a minor in Creative Writing. She has an interest in holistic wellness, female empowerment, fashion and pop culture.