A Very Minimal Gap Semester

Graduating was the best thing to ever happen to me. Not because school was over (because I got grad school sooo, it’s not) but because I have never felt that much of a strong sense of accomplishment. For me, my college degree is something that I am so proud of, it makes it into my morning affirmations every day.

I was officially able to graduate with my degree in Chemistry this past December and originally tried to apply for spring acceptance into a graduate program. However, I quickly learned that it just wasn’t going to work out, and to increase my chances of being funded for my degree, I needed to start school in the fall. This created this awkward gap semester, and there wasn’t a lot of time to plan out something “cool” to do, so I was kind of forced to wing it a little bit. However, now that I’ve committed to a program, and that stress is slightly alleviated, I am thankful I have had this time away from being a full-time student.

Although I posted it on my Instagram a lot, my plan has been to get my graduate degree in environmental engineering. However, because my undergraduate was not in engineering, I am basically all but completely unqualified to be getting said graduate degree.

I started spending a lot more time outside during my gap semester, which was very needed after 3 years of spending summers inside a lab.

After talking to every school’s department, I made a list of classes that would be the best for me to take, matched that up with what was available (and I could physically get to since I did not have a car and license at this point in time). And that was it! I was enrolled part time for the semester at the same place I just finished my undergraduate.

It was a 2.5-hour train ride each way to get to my university. I would wake up, take the train, go to class for an hour, take the next train back, and be home in time to get to my shift at work if I had one. I was really frustrated by this arrangement since I just couldn’t find it comfortable enough to actually get anything done on the train, and after I did the math for the week, my commute was basically like having another full-time job. Thankfully this all picked up after I got my license!

After I had more free time from the new freedom of driving- I began using my free time to work on my personal health- something largely neglected during my undergraduate. I focused on eating healthier, going to the gym more often, and learning to speak to myself kindly.

Here’s a small list of things I have been able to take away from my graduate semester:

  • Spending at least some time outdoors does wonders
  • Say at least one kind thing to yourself every day
  • Sleep is very (I cannot stress this enough) very important
  • Reflection upon your long and short term goals helps to¬†keep you motivated.

I am thankful that, although my gap time was not spent traveling the world or gaining some practical experience through an internship of some kind, that I was able to have the time to work on developing myself! I think it was a large personal growth period that will only help me keep grounded during my time in graduate school.

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