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  • Writer's pictureAlmeera Eman

Episode Two: Life Lessons about University Deferrals, Age and Traveling, According to Grace

Updated: May 27, 2022

While you’re probably looking forward to what your gap year has in store, there’s probably still some nerves about things you don’t know yet. Will you get into my university program after my gap year? Do you have the skills to travel? Is it going to be weird to be going back to school when you're a year older than everybody else?

Grace weighs in on all of these questions in this week’s podcast.

Grace is a current University of Toronto Student studying Biodiversity and Conservation. She spent many of her summers working at camp, where she found her passion for the outdoors. With the support of her family, she deferred her acceptance and spent the majority of her gap year working at a restaurant before venturing to Europe for some exploring.

Grace speaks about the transition from being a student to working – the freedom of not having homework, the exposure to new peers of all different ages and life experience, as well as a taste of what “adult life” is all about.

What does Grace want people planning a gap year to know?

  • You don’t need to do it all in advance. Lots can be figured out on the fly and it will allow for more flexibility in your travels

  • Things go wrong, but go with the flow. The funniest stories that you will tell upon return are all about when things go wrong

  • Traveling will help you become more resilient and resourceful, two skills that will serve you well in your future.

  • Deferring your acceptance is not difficult. When you receive your acceptance, research the proper steps for your university – for Grace, she had to fill out a form with some administrative information and then 4-5 liens explaining what she was doing – they just wanted to know she had a plan. She dropped off the form on campus and soon heard back that they would welcome her a year later. YAY!

  • Being a year older when going back to university isn’t a big deal! There are people in her classes that come from all walks of life and are all ages – age stops mattering as soon as you graduate high school, it’s more about who you share interests and values with.

As cheesy as it sounds, Grace did “find herself” on her gap year. She learned so much from traveling, being alone, and being in a slower environment. She started her first year of university more confident, independent confident in her ability to make new friends.

Her top advice for students in grade 12? To commit and absolutely do it, and not to let FOMO get in the way. It may seem like you’ll miss out on the university experience, but you’ll have the same experience a year later – plus, you’ll have all your amazing gap year experience under your belt as well.

Pretty cool, eh?

Want to dive deeper into the resources mentioned throughout the podcast? Here are some of the resources that Grace and Michelle mentioned in the podcast:

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