Meet the Fellows: Cole and How to Make Confident Decisions About a Gap Year

May 22, 2018
Year On TeamFellow Voices

#GapYearDecisionDay is May 25th! As students from around the world prepare to share their gap year plans, we wanted to highlight some of the reasons our current fellows decided to take a gap year.

Today, we sat down with Cole, a fellow from Cohort 12, to talk about the advice he has for prospective gappers and what he focused on during his gap year.

Year On: What advice do you have for students who are thinking about taking a gap year?

Cole: Make sure you have a plan that you can share with your family that articulates how every experience during your gap year ties back into your individual gap year intentions.

Be prepared that not everyone will understand your decision. Learn to be confident in your own choices and reasoning.

Year On: Why did you decide to take a gap year?

Cole: Every component of my gap year had a specific purpose. I wanted to travel to a third world country, participate in service work, self-reflect, push my comfort zone, explore potential career options, and pursue self-directed projects.

I believe there are so many different ways to learn besides just the traditional university system. Since I want to be an entrepreneur, I figured the best method to learn was to complete projects, not sit through classes (as I did during my first year of college).

Year On: What’s one thing you learned about the world and about yourself by traveling abroad?

Cole: I learned that there truly is no right or wrong, only contrasting perspectives. After being exposed to various belief systems, I came to understand that my opinions are based on the context of my own privileges. Thus, the best I can try to do is be grateful and attempt to understand others to the best of my ability.


Year On: What projects did you work on during your gap year?

Cole: The main project I worked on throughout my gap year was Palate, an app that aims to connect people with great food dishes. I created the startup with two of my friends (fellow cohort members). We worked on building the company for three consecutive work sprints and for the duration of the ten weeks of Focus.


Year On: What are you working on now during your Internship phase?

Cole: I split my time between working on Palate, freelance writing, and diving into a few new entrepreneurial ideas.

Year On: What are your plans for after your gap year?

Cole: That question is yet to be answered; I am still figuring it out. A few of my options are to: pursue Palate full-time, explore a new startup idea, or travel the world while taking online classes.


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