As you seniors begin to consider your prospects for the first year after graduation, some of you will inevitably be offered the opportunity for some sort of a “gap year” experience. Whether it be service, teaching abroad, or whatever, the gap year allows you the luxury of not having to make any serious decisions about your life for 9-12 months. This may not be a bad idea, since, if you’re anything like me, you applied Newton’s Law of Collegiate Fuckery (number of brain cells lost/1000 = amount of months until you’re capable of semi-normal adult brain function) to your options for the immediate future. So, once the haze clears from the dumb head that your parents have just dumped $160,000+ into, the gap year seems like a legitimate solution to remedy your self-imposed idiocy.
All collegiate tomfoolery aside, you probably think the gap year is a great opportunity for you to get your shit together, and probably even help some people along the way. As a current member of the corps of Gap Year Jerk Offs, it personally brings me great pleasure to bring some hard truths to the fore for all of you altruistic do-gooders out there.
1. You will be poor “AF.”
But you probably were prepared for this. You think that because you’ve been buying Natty Light and shitty weed for the past 3.5 years that you know how to stretch a buck. What you’re not prepared for is being paid biweekly on a stipend that couldn’t support the lifestyle of an entry-level crack addict in the saturated market of the West Baltimore projects. Say goodbye to your daily grande-skim-milk-non-fat-double-mocha latte.
2. You will realize that you are incredibly disposable.
No matter what you are doing, you will most likely be the most worthless person at your place of work. Sure, you will try to pick up the slack and seek out stuff to do to make yourself feel important, but as you waste away the hours on Reddit, Twitter and www.whythefuckdidntijustgotogradschool.com, you’ll begin to meticulously cultivate an insanely low sense of self-worth. Enlightening, I know.
3. Anxiety about your future will set in, and you will handle it horribly.
As you frolic through your idyllic gap year experience, you’ll begin contemplating your future. Seeing as you don’t do jack shit at work, you start turning over not just what next year holds, but the year after that, and the year after that. Soon, you’ll realize that unless you want to be Craig, the 43-year-old “bachelor” with the 12×12 picture of his mom in his cubicle and the perpetual mustard stain on his shirt from the hot dog he got from the cart across the street (which just augments his considerable FUPA), that you’ll have to go back in time and get a 4.0 from an Ivy League school to get that dream job at Google where you take a slide to work every day. Life sucks, and in your fruitful gap year experience, you’ll learn that more quickly than any of your cube monkey friends who are working for their dad’s buddy’s benefits analysis firm.
So you combat this omnipresent sense of “fuck me” with multiple cups of coffee in order to spur you to get your shit together. You’ll update your resume, LinkedIn page and try to cleanup your Facebook, but we all know that’s impossible, because goddammit, you and your buddies looked awesome that one Halloween dressed as the guys from the Channel 4 News Team, alumni Craig bonging beers in the background and the thoughts of potential employers be damned. If you doubt the relationship between coffee and anxiety, simply refer to every third post on this website.
4. You’ll have more fun than you thought you would.
If you’re anywhere near your high school or college buddies, you will be benefitting from their living situation which is presumably more advantageous than yours, while having a great deal more free time than they do. The gap year does give you the opportunity to enjoy yourself. However, if you’re like me, that means maintaining a fairly mid to high level of alcohol abuse, physical-self neglect, narcissism and apathy. Ain’t the life of a bachelor beautiful?
While it’s better than the life of your average cubicle sloth, the gap year is hardly the holistic, fulfilling adventure your Croc-wearing professor who wrote your letter of recommendation told you it would be. You’ll experience a year of pain and self-questioning during your postgrad fun hangover. Welcome to the real world chump, good thing you flexed nuts your senior year to get that 3.4. God knows you’re now as irreplaceable as Beyonce.