Schooling and Career

I Don’t Regret My Gap Years…

Going into my last year at The Ohio State University I was still a bit lost. I knew some jobs and career fields I did not want to pursue. But I still hadn’t figured out exactly what I wanted to do. It was a hard place to be and I was pretty hard on myself for it. It was not until part way through the year that I really found dietetics and realized it was the career field for me. By this time I wanted to graduate, so changing my major did not seem like the best decision. And I did not have all the prerequisite courses finished to apply to most of the graduate programs. So because of those circumstances and just needing a break from full-time school I decided I would take some time off from school after graduation. 

After making this decision I got comments such as “you’ll never go back” and “I said I’d go back and never did” and very negative comments. Most of these coming from people who did not know me well at all. It was very discouraging. But the people who knew me, or even had a conversation with me about dietetics could tell I would not give up on this dream.

So I am writing this to tell you if you are getting comments like this just let them go. Don’t hold onto them. You know you best and get to be the ultimate decision maker when it comes to your future.

In the last two years I have learned so much, worked multiple jobs, met new people, lived out of my comfort zone more than I lived in it. Taking the time between undergrad and graduate school was the right decision for me and I do not in any way regret it. So here is a summary of some of the things I’ve done in the last two years instead of doing school full-time. 


So many people don’t talk about finances. They say they are too personal, or it is not proper to talk about money. Well I say this is my website and I will talk about my finances if I want to.

I also want to mention that ever person’s situation is different. I am very privileged and was able to live rent free with family for a year and a half. This made a huge impact on my finances and I know that many people coming out of college will not have this opportunity. If you feel that this section will not help you I encourage you to skip it. If you think my experience in this area could help you make the decision on whether or not to take some time off school please continue with this section.

For me financially taking time off helped tremendously. Growing up we had money struggles on and off. I took my first ‘real’ job at age 16 as a lifeguard. Before that I had been babysitting for family friends. And the longest I have ever taken off has been the time since I moved from Austin to Chapel Hill. I have been jobless for a little over a month now. I worked throughout all of undergrad at Ohio State and lived with less than $2,000 in my bank account at all times. So that is a bit of background information to understand where I was at the end of my undergraduate degree.


While in Austin I worked at a place called Marbridge. This was the first place I worked full-time and got benefits. Many of my other jobs I worked full-time hours, or full-time hours sometimes, but never got benefits. But Marbridge gave me benefits. One of those benefits was a 401K. I am sure you know, but a 401K is a retirement savings investment plan. Honestly I don’t know a whole lot about it, just that I should have one. When setting mine up I did exactly as my dad advised me and now I have a 401K. It is not a big 401K, but as time goes on it will grow. And it was kind of an exciting adult thing to get. I mean with the employer match they give you ‘extra’ money aka money they won’t directly pay you so that is cool. Had I not taken my gap years I would have not started a retirement account so early.

Financing A Car

In October of 2018 I had agreed to go to Austin at the end of the year. At this point for multiple reasons I needed a new car. First off my first car was 17 years old, did not have working air conditioning, and was a two-door. And I was going to be moving to Texas to become a nanny with two big carseats in my car. It was time to invest in a new car.

My first car before it was towed away

With the help of my dad I start the whole car buying process. I decided what I needed in a car, how much I thought I wanted to spend and all the details. He came up to Columbus and we went to a dealership that had a car I liked and I ended up leaving in my new Chevy Cruze. I was excited, but also told my dad the next time I buy a car I am paying in full. That is the goal, my next car I will not need financing.

Had I been in graduate school and already taken more loans for school financing may have been more of an issue. The whole credit score system is very much a frustrating and difficult system.

Starting that next month I started paying off my first financed car. After getting to Austin and making more and spending less I shifted my budget. I personally was able to pay double car payments for most of my time as a nanny. This was in part because I was taking classes part time. Therefore my student loans were put back into deferment.

My new to me car

As of now, August 2020, I am still paying on this car, and will be for awhile. But had I not taken time off I would have had a much harder time making this possible. I more than likely would have had a budget that would only allow me to buy a less reliable car.

Paying for Classes

During my gap years I did take some classes. So yes technically I was in school. I do still consider this time my gap years as I was not in school full-time and took a few semesters off. I took classes in spring 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020, but never full-time. Because I was working this whole time I was able to pay for these classes out of pocket. I did not take any more student loans during this period. That is something I am truly proud of. And I will talk a bit more about my classes at a later time.


Taking this time off and working allowed me to start saving. Again I am very lucky to have had the opportunities I did, but I also took full advantage of them. Although I had more money coming in than ever before I still lived on a relatively tight budget. I knew that I wanted to have more than a couple thousand in my bank account during grad school and I made that a priority.

Student Loans

The way federal student loans work is there is a six-month grace period after you stop going to school full-time. During this grace period you do not have to pay, but depending on the loan type interest may accrue. To be honest, I have been paying small amounts of money every month towards loan interest since I got a job freshman year. To me it made sense to put a little towards the interest so it did not accrue too much. After I graduated I continued doing that until my grace period was over.

After my grace period was over I started having required payments. But only for a short while, because in spring 2019 I took six credit hours of classes online through Ohio State putting me at part-time status. At this point I still continued to pay a bit towards the accruing interest, and the rest of what I would have been paying towards this loan to my car loan. I hope that makes sense. This is how I paid double my car loan for that period of time.

Based on the times I was in school, and grace periods I have not been required to start monthly payments again. And since I am starting graduate school I will not have to until 2023. That is not to say I won’t be making payments.

Currently due to COVID all federal student loans are not accruing interest. Because of this I shifted my monthly payments again. That small amount I was paying towards my interest is now also going to my car loan as its interest rate has not changed. At this point this short term no interest on federal student loans will come to an end at the end of September. If that is the case I will shift back to paying a small amount towards my interest. And then once my car is paid off I will shift again and start putting all that money towards my federal student loans.

That is probably a lot of information you did not need to know. But I thought I’d share it anyway. It is part of the reason I am financially where I am. And although it is not necessarily where I want to be, I could definitely be in a worse spot than I am.


During my gap years I worked multiple different jobs and learned a tremendous amount from each of them. I learned about the businesses I was working for as well as myself. And all of that experience is valuable. Had I gone straight into graduate school I would not have had the opportunity to hold the jobs I did. Let me share a bit more about each of them.

Native Cold Pressed Juice

So right before I graduated I quit my job of three years thinking I was going back to a summer job I had held the previous summer. Looking back I am so fortunate that I did not go back to that summer job. At the time it meant I had to scramble to find a job. I was lucky enough to find an opening and was hired at Native Cold Pressed Juice in the Short North.

Native is an organic juice bar in the Columbus area. I worked as the juicer, which meant early mornings working with and processing the produce. I enjoyed this job and my coworkers were wonderful. I learned about the flavor profiles of different plants I’d never used before and how wonderfully they can combine. I was also reminded how important ratios and recipes can be.

My Native look hairnet and braids

I worked for Native for about 8 months and when I am able continue to support them. They sell an amazing product, but there is a seasonality to their business. In the cooler months my hours were cut because they did not sell as much juice. For where I was in my life I needed a more stable income. This was part of the reason the conversation relating to me moving to Austin started.


To supplement my income after graduation I took a position with a company called SIMPLR STEAM. They ran programs relating to science technology engineering art and math (STEAM). The owners were amazing and had an awesome idea. They designed programs for summer camps and had their employees present the material. On top of that they had their own makerspace with a whole bunch of different technologies the kids could learn and use. Over time the owners decided that the makerspace was not profitable enough and they were going to focus more on program design and working directly with school districts. My time with them was short, but I enjoyed the job. I had fun learning some of the technology they had and seeing the kids get excited about STEAM.


Being a nanny was honestly one of the most difficult jobs I have ever had. Helping small humans understand their emotions, and how to be respectable human beings is a hard job. To anyone doing it in any capacity I have full respect.

Although it was difficult I am so glad I did it for so many reasons. I nannied for some family members and had I not taken the job, I would most likely have never had the opportunity to know the kids well at all. It also gave me a great reason to move out of Ohio, something I had wanted to do for a long time. And the city I got to move to was filled with excitement and young individuals also trying to find their way in this world.

Nanny Life

My time as a nanny was also made more difficult due to living in the house I worked in, and family dynamics. Despite all the hardship I think I came out the other side a more compassionate, patient and understanding individual. Or at least I hope I did. And I got to play in the sand, play battleship, and read silly kids books for nine months. I never expected to take a job like this after graduating, but it was the right choice at the time.

The Villa At Marbridge

Once fall came around both boys were enrolled in full day school, and my temporary nanny job was over. At this point I had more decisions to make. To stay, or go somewhere else was the biggest. Choosing to stay made the most sense all around and so I did. Again I was living with the family I nannied for, so I continued living with them. I then got a job at a magical place called Marbridge.

Marbridge is an organization that takes care of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I applied for a job as a dietary aide because I wanted some good experience to put on my resume. I never realized how attached to the residents I would get during the year I worked at Marbridge.

As a dietary aide I was almost a middleman between the kitchen and residents. I worked with the cook and my other dietary aide, but as aides we also interacted with residents while passing tea and coffee. And I am forever grateful for the opportunity to meet those wonderful, funny, unique residents that live at the Villa at Marbridge. Going in I thought this would be a job that would help me to become a dietitian, and it will, but it helped me grow as an individual too. I also have never felt so much love at a job as I did at Marbridge, and don’t know that I ever will. Marbridge and the residents will always have a place in my heart.

Essential Work COVID Style

I also want to say that when I first got this job, I was a bit worried about working with this population. I had worked with the physically disabled before, but never the intellectually disabled and that made me nervous. But I want to say to anyone and everyone when they see or interact with a disabled person, act like you would with an able-bodied person. These individuals deserve just as much love and respect as we give able-bodied people. I will probably never know what it is like to live as a disabled person, but I care about a lot of people that know that reality all too well. And if you ever have the opportunity to work with this population, do it. I imagine it will be a wonderful experience full of growth, understanding, joy and so much more.

This was my last job before starting graduate school. And had the job challenged me more intellectually I may have been more conflicted about leaving. I joked many times that after grad school if I end up back in Austin I’ll go on as their consulting dietitian. And who knows, maybe that is where life will take me…


After finish my undergraduate degree in biology I realized I did not have all the prerequisites finished to apply to graduate school. This was obviously a problem because these courses are needed for entry into the programs, and to build a foundation for my future studies.

So I took more classes during what I will call my gap years. I took classes part-time and mostly online. Many of these classes were general education classes, and did not take much of my time. I took five classes in total over three semesters and from three different schools. And I joke that I have a crazy amount of colleges on my transcript, but honestly I am sure others have just as many.

The struggle with taking these classes was that not every university I planned to apply to required the same classes. So I had to strategically schedule the classes in a way that made the most sense. I ended up taking one class that was not required for the program I am committed to. And I am glad it is only one. I would have gained a lot of good knowledge, but taking too many extra classes would have meant I had to pay for classes I was not required to take. Thankfully I was able to finish all the required classes and still have the summer before grad school off to rest and chill.

But now it is time to start school again full-time and that is exciting, and nerve-wracking, and many more emotions all at once.


So this is probably the best part of not being in school full-time for me. In the last two years I have been able to travel to many new places. I have been blessed with a lot of privilege and many people taking time off school will not have as much flexibility as I did during these years. But if you are taking time off school, I do suggest trying to go new places when possible. Even if it is just a couple towns over where they have good local shops you’ve never visited before, but have always wanted to.

Chicago, Illinois

Before I graduated I quit the job I had all through undergrad. I thought I was going to be hired to be a summer intern at the camp I had worked the summer before. That did not happen and I was jobless. It took me a bit of time to find something and during that time I visited my brother in Chicago. He helped me make this happen because he missed my college graduation.

Chicago 2018

He had been living in Chicago for a bit by this point and I had just not gotten over to visit him. This was a fun trip because I got to meet his roommates, and see one of the most exciting midwestern cities with locals. It was a chill trip and I enjoyed myself very much.

Lake Days in Michigan

My next trip post graduation was to visit my roommate. We lived together for 3 of our 4 years at Ohio State and her family has been so generous and welcoming to me. I drove up to that state up north and visited my friend and her family at her aunt and uncle’s lakefront cabin.

Sunset on the lake

We had a blast being back together again. We hung out on the water and participated in all the water sports. Travel does not always have to be expensive or extravagant. Sometimes it looks like crashing on a couch at a friend’s families house. Getting away from reality every once and awhile is so nice.


This trip I honestly am not going to go into much detail about. I want to point out I am very lucky to have been able to take a trip like this so soon after graduation. To be honest the only reason it was possible was because of the person I took it with. This young man is someone I care deeply for and am so grateful we had this experience together. It was just the two of us in our little European travel bubble and it was wonderful.

Germany 2018

Over a period of two weeks we visited Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy. We traveled by train and enjoyed each others company, explored beautiful cities and enjoyed some amazing food. I mean some of the best food I have eaten in my life. Not just my gluten-free life, but my entire life. And on that note I had almost no problem eating gluten-free in any of the places we went. Specifically do not be scared of Italy if you are gluten-free.

Dessert from the best meal ever…

To date these are two of the best weeks of my life. I highly suggest visiting Florence, it was probably my favorite city we stayed in. And traveling by train is so fun, maybe because we don’t do it here in the U.S. Anyways just go see the world. Go places you’ve never been. Go with friends and learn more about each other. Experiencing different cultures and learning new things is fascinating.


The trip from Dayton, Ohio to Austin, Texas is about an 18 hour drive. Due to me being super independent and wanting to do the drive myself and my car being full I took the journey alone. This meant along the way I stopped for a few over nights. One of which was in Dallas to visit one of my friends that I met when I was in Texas in 2017. She is knowledgeable, caring, and an amazing host. She grew up in Dallas and gave me a thorough tour with history included.

Fair Park

During my stay we hung out, caught up and ate yummy food. It is very funny that we are such good friends because we have like the opposite dietary needs. Despite that we always have the best time. Some of the big attractions she took me to included the Dallas Zoo which still had the Christmas light show up, and Fair Park. Both of which I recommend. After a few nights spent with an exceptional friend I finished my road trip to Austin.

Skiing in New Mexico

The first trip after I moved to Texas was to New Mexico. This at the time was the farthest west I’d ever been. I went with the family members I lived with in Texas and we went for President’s Day weekend. Originally I am from Ohio. If you don’t know much about Ohio it is pretty flat, or at least in Southwest Ohio. There are a few ski places somewhat nearby, but nothing crazy. Definitely in the minor leagues of ski slopes.

So we went to Red River to ski. But because I’m from Ohio I’d only ever skied like twice before. The last time before Red River was probably in 2010 or 2011. So the eager beaver that I am, I strapped on my skis and went for it. The first day I fell a lot and it hurt, and at times I was definitely discouraged. After some instruction and figuring out how to use my body to stop me I started falling less. I also learned that you use your hips a lot in skiing. By our last day of the trip I was going down some blues pretty confidently. I was very proud of my progress and had fun despite the soreness that came along with the sport.

Skiing in New Mexico

When we weren’t skiing, we were hanging out in our cabin or walking around the town and its shops. We also took a snow-cat ride and went sledded too. It was a nice getaway from the norm and fun to get to see a good amount of snow. Another thing about Ohio is that when it snows it doesn’t usually snow a lot. So it is pretty for a bit, but then it all turns slushy on the roads and looks gross. Red River had lots of snow even in February.

Beach Resort in Mexico

This was another trip with the family members I lived with. Before this trip I had never been to Mexico, and had never done an all-inclusive resort. To be fair because I was at an all-inclusive I really did not experience the culture of Mexico or get to explore outside of the resort. After visiting I thought the all-inclusive setting was nice and fun, but would not want to do it all the time. I do like experiencing the culture of a place I visit and visiting local shops as well as getting time to relax and unwind.

Hanging out on the beach

Overall this trip was nice, but would have been better for me had my friends been able to come. With the all-inclusive there was the swim up bars and service to the beach which I would have enjoyed more had a friend been able to join me. But I am thankful I got to go and sit on the beach for a few days and get out of my normal routine.

Middle of Nowhere Oklahoma

Almost immediately after returning to Austin from Mexico I got in my car and drove to Oklahoma. At the time I was nannying and the boys were on spring break. This trip was to visit the guy I traveled with in Europe. Because of this trip I got to check off another state on my 25 before 25 list. And I hung out with a person I care about and met some of his work friends. Oklahoma is a rather boring state to drive through. I would not recommend if you don’t have to. But there are lots of casinos right off the highway. A few times I was tempted to get off the highway, but I’m no gambler. I like keeping my money and the risk is too high.

Oklahoma state line

Seattle, Washington

My trip to Seattle was the first trip I have ever taken solo. It was a great place in my opinion to do a solo trip. This trip was for both work and pleasure. I visited the University of Washington and met with some administrators in the nutrition department. The University of Washington is one of the schools I applied to when applying to graduate school. They were the only one I was not admitted to in the end. But that is ok.

Other than visiting the UW campus I visited some of the more touristy attractions. I enjoyed the market the most. While visiting I also went and met up with one of my brother’s friends. My brother is six years older than me. So growing up we never hung out, but now we are closer and it is fun hanging out with him and his friends. This friend is actually in the program I applied to and she was so helpful during my graduate school application process.

Pike Place Market

Seattle is an amazingly young, fun, and progressive city. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and will be back for sure.

Chicago, Illinois

To be honest I was blindsided by this trip. For whatever reason I did not realize it was going to be a family trip until after I agreed. I love my family, I do, but all of us sprawled all over my brothers apartment was not what I had imagined. Despite that it turned out to be a fun trip. We went up for the Fourth of July and partook in some of the festivities. All of us had been to Chicago multiple times so it was mostly us just hanging out. We did take a sailboat ride the day after the fireworks. This would have been a bit more enjoyable had I not been hungover. I still can’t believe I let my mom get me drunk. But that happened in Chicago. Getting back to Austin was a bit of a struggle, we were flying standby. I ended up spending an extra day with my brother and all we did was watch the newest season of Stranger Things. That was a great day.

View from my brothers apartment

North Carolina

One of the worst parts of growing up is moving away from your friends. It is really difficult for sure. At the end of the summer 2019 I went and visited my friends from college in their new home in North Carolina. This trip was another mixed purpose trip. While I was in Carolina I also visited the University of North Carolina and fell in love. I will always be a Buckeye, but I’d say UNC is probably the second best university ever. It is beautiful and I am so excited to call Chapel Hill my home for the next few years.

These friends of mine are living the army life and Rachel has her own blog about military life. So go check her out if you are also are living the military life at Real Life Army Wife.

Beach day

Like any time we are together my friends and I packed in so much fun during my visit. We ate in Fayetteville, went out in Raleigh, and went to the beach in Wilmington. Ultimately the best part was doing it all with my friends. I would not be where I am in life without their love and support. It was fun to visit them and see them living and loving their life that they have built together.

Dallas Again

In October I went back to Dallas to participate in the Beyond Celiac 5K. Despite Austin being the capital city of Texas, Dallas and Houston seem to have more events that I wanted to attend. Funny how that works, but thankfully both of those cities were only about three hours from Austin. And in both cities I knew people who I could stay with, which is always a plus.

So I went back up to Dallas and stayed with my friend again. Looking back I am so glad I did, because that was the last time I was able to see her before leaving Texas.

Step Beyond Celiac 5K

As someone who lives with Celiac and has it managed well I kind of feel weird donating to the cause when it there are so many other diagnosis that seem much worse. Like I am not dying today, but I also am privileged and have access to safe gluten-free products. I don’t know if anyone can relate, but sometimes it is just something I think about. Despite that I signed up for the Beyond Celiac 5K in Dallas and am glad I went.

Going to the event I had hoped I would meet some others with Celiac in my age group. Unfortunately a majority of the participants were families. The overall turnout of the event was good as far as I could tell.

Other than the 5K I hung out with my friend. We had a blast. It was her high school reunion that weekend and she was head of coordinating all the events. So I got to tag along and meet some of the people she grew up with. It was kind of weird and funny too though. One of the men was hardcore hitting on me and did not get the hint I was not into him. To the point he was messaging my friend on Facebook asking if I was into him. He made us laugh a lot, which is always great.

Texas State Fair

The weekend I was in Dallas was also one of the weekends of the state fair. I was so excited to go to the state fair. I have many great memories from fairs. I grew up showing horses in 4h, and my best friend and I went to the Ohio State Fair many times while living in Columbus. I am so happy I got to experience the Texas State Fair. While at the fair I ate my first turkey leg, and honestly it was just alright. I think the best part though was attending with my friend. She knows so much of the history of fair park, and she told me about her personal experiences with the fair. It was a great experience all around!

Back to the Midwest

For my birthday and Christmas I headed back to the midwest. And I say midwest because I did not stay in one place for too long. This was the first trip back to Ohio since I had left. I spent ten days away from Austin and split my time between Columbus, Dayton, and Milford, Michigan. Over these ten days I spent a lot of time in my mom’s car that she so graciously let me borrow during my visit.

During my visit I was able to see many of the most important people in my life. This included my family, and some friends. Unfortunately after splitting my time I was not able to spend as much time with everyone as I would have liked. That is a hard reality when you leave your hometown. I enjoyed myself a lot while home. And in some ways I think of all three of those locations as home. I grew up in Dayton. I went to college and learned so much more about myself in Columbus. And in Milford I have many people who have taken me in and loved me as if they have known me my whole life.

Some highlights of my trip home were my birthday in Milford playing Top Golf even though I am not a golfer, trying new restaurants with gluten-free menus, and hanging out with the kids I grew up babysitting.

I know I probably need this advice just as much as anyone, but if you get the chance to go home. Do it. The people there love and miss you. In my case it is easier for me to get home than it is for all the people I wish to see to get to me. One thing about being in North Carolina is that I will be able to drive home which means I’ll be able to visit more often. Although my grad school schedule may not allow that. This was part of the reason North Carolina seemed so appealing to me.


In February of 2020 I visited Houston for an eating disorder conference. I know, definitely not the most fun topic, but I learned so much. This was another event that I was so excited about, but wished it was in Austin. Except looking back I am glad it wasn’t. This was the only chance I took to go visit Houston during my time in Texas.

While there I took the time to visit with my mother’s cousin. He and his girlfriend were so awesome to me and showed me around and gave me a place to sleep for the weekend. I enjoyed spending time with them and being shown the city they enjoy calling home. Being in Texas has given me a unique opportunity to learn more about some of my more distant relatives and I am forever grateful for that.

The conference itself was so informative. I learned a lot and am glad I attended. And I appreciated that the presenters were all pushing HAES and Intuitive Eating, which was part of the reason I was so pumped to go in the first place. The only thing I wish I would have done differently is to talk to more of the professionals. The next time I go to a conference I know better and will do better to interact and communicate with more people.

Waco and Dallas

So I went to Waco and Dallas right as things were about to shut down. And I totally did not tell anyone that I was going. To be fair this is not the first time I’ve gone somewhere without telling my family. One time I was going on spring break and my mom called me as I was in Tennessee asking what I was doing for spring break. I told her I was leaving for Tennessee. I would not suggest this, to be fair I’m a grown adult and can make my own decisions. For this trip specifically I just did not want to talk about who I was seeing at the time.

Anyways I spent a good chunk of a day in Waco hanging out with myself and visiting the town. It was fun getting out of Austin and the hustle and bustle of the big city. I shopped around town and walked the streets enjoying my time off of work and away from the craziness. After while I drove the rest of the way to Dallas to meet the guy that I went to Europe with. He is definitely a reoccurring character in this story. And that is all you get to know at this point.

The Silos at Magnolia

Dallas was the easiest place for us to meet between where we were both living. Personally I have spent a good amount of time traveling to visit him, so it was nice to meet in the middle. We spent an evening together getting a nice dinner and catching up. It was something I think we both needed and am glad we were able to do. Especially since once I got back it was then full on lock down.


Although I do not know that I would suggest visiting Oklahoma more than once, I did… I visited Oklahoma and that boy on my journey to North Carolina. It was the only way we were going to be able to see each other for awhile and I had not done anything in what felt like forever. I was and still am not choosing high risk activities when it comes to COVID. That is my comfort level and that is ok. So after leaving Austin I went to Oklahoma and spent a few days with a person I care about and enjoy spending time with. And it was nice to be with someone I know before moving away from everyone.

Clarksville, Arkansas

So after leaving Oklahoma I had a two day driving plan. That did not work out like I had planned at all. Five hours into my first driving day my car started to overheat. And this car has never had problems. So I stopped and let it cool. After consulting my dad I safely got to the next exit. Then I had to get a tow and stay the night in Clarksville. This is another place I would not necessarily suggest. I mean it was a cute small town in the middle of Arkansas. All of the people I interacted with were nice, but that’s about it. I can say there are no good gluten-free dining options. I bought a piecemeal dinner from Walmart. But this experience taught me a lot, and I will be writing a post on how to deal with car troubles as a young women.

Stranded in a pandemic

Lake Hartwell

So because I only got half way through my first day of driving before my set back I was not able to make my trip in two days. Thankfully I have some family that was only a tiny bit out of the way. From where I was to their place it was a long drive for just me, but I did it and took the necessary breaks. Honestly I’m glad I got to see them. They are family I grew up visiting regularly and just have not since going away to college. And they have an adorable golden retriever named Georgia, and she was just precious. It was so nice seeing my family and I was so thankful for them being spending some time with me before I finished my journey. From there I drove the last few hours to Chapel Hill.


The last trip I took before starting graduate school was up to visit my family in Ohio. Due to COVID I had not seen any of my Ohio family since December and knew I would not seen them often once school started. While in Ohio I visited my family, and a few friends. I did not spend much time here, but I am glad I went up. It is always good to see family, especially when you don’t see them often.


At the end of two years off of full-time school I can say I do not regret it. I do not regret taking this time for myself and honestly I think I will be a better masters level student because I took time off. I was able to do so much in these last two years that I could not have imagined doing had I been in school.

So if you are reading this to try and decide whether to take time off or not I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you I would make the same decision. I would do it all again.

I don’t regret my gap years. I learned so much about myself, the world, relationships, and so much more. I learned more than I would have learned had I just gone straight to graduate school. And I imagine many others feel this way too and have had similar experiences.

The last thing I want to say is don’t let others bully you into the wrong decision. People told me not to take time off, that I’d never go back. Well here I am proving them wrong. I’m going back and I’m better equipped than ever to face the challenges I expect to face in graduate school.

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