HB students take a gap year


Caroline Kroeger

Zoe Bertone ’17, Kelly McFarlane ’17, and Nick Wood ’17 are each taking part in a gap year. Each student is doing something unique with his or her time.

As the end of the school year fast approaches,  most HB seniors have made plans to continue their education at a college or university. Some have enrolled abroad, while others look to join the military. A select few have organized a gap year between high school and college.

Students have various reasons for committing to a gap year. Zoe Bertone ‘17 decided that international volunteer work would be a part of her life in the future, and from September to December this year, she will explore Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania with a gap year program. Bertone is “beyond excited” to embark. “I have gone on similar, smaller trips with a program called Global Leadership Adventures (check out their website here) for the past two summers,” Bertone stated. For four weeks in the summer of 2016, Bertone visited the Amazon and hiked the Inca trail in Peru. During the summer of 2015 she went with GLA to southern China, where she restored a temple and worked with children. After Bertone’s three months in Eastern Africa, she will return home before going to live with family in Southern France for three months, where she hopes to hone her skills in the language and learn about French culture firsthand.

Kelly McFarlane ‘17 plans to take a gap year in the work force before enrolling in Southern New Hampshire University for the 2018 Fall semester. She is confident in her decision and values the time it will give her to explore career possibilities. “I am really young; I am 17 years old,” she said “I will be 17 when I graduate and I’d be 17 if I attended [sic] school in the Fall, so I think that taking a break would be extremely beneficial.” McFarlane has a set plan for the year following her gap. “I decided I should take a year off and figure out what it is I would like to study. I am going to work and take some local classes that interest me. I want to get a basis as to what major I want to study when I go to college.” McFarlane is excited for some time off to refocus and is looking forward to continuing school after a much needed hiatus.

Nick Wood ‘17 is also set for a gap year and plans to join the workforce as well, but in a slightly different capacity: “I was offered a really good opportunity to work for my aunt down in Georgia. She will be hiring me as part of her crew to make the next two Marvel films.” Wood will be in charge of “everything related to lighting and electricity” for the film’s creation, and will make a temporary move to Georgia for the job.  Wood cites the film industry as having always been an interest of his, and perhaps a potential career path. “I might go into film in the future, but I will be studying mechanical engineering [in college].” Following his year in media, Wood will attend Florida Tech for the Fall of 2018. Wood felt that taking a gap year is something most people do not get to experience, adding, “This is a really good opportunity that I can’t pass up.”

These three students, along with many who came in years before them, are part of a growing adolescent trend that encourages students to slow their pace towards degrees and prioritize personal self-fulfillment. Gap years are not for everyone, but they can be a smart way to earn money, gain experience, or travel the world.