By: Krisandra Provencher

Nearly a year ago today I listed to a voicemail from an unknown number. I heard a male voice say congratulations. Then there was screaming and cheering in the background before I heard the voice say a few more things. When the call ended and I processed what I had just heard, a scream flew out of my mouth. I had done it. I was a member of Elon University’s Class of 2019 Gap Semester Program. I had sent in my application roughly a month before and wasn’t expecting to hear from them so soon, if at all. I was most certainly in shock. I ran into the living room and told my mom the news in a rushed and loud voice. She looked at me with concern on her face and asked me to slow down and repeat myself. But, by the time I had sunk to the floor and was impersonating a blubbering fish while I cried. It was the oddest two minutes of my life. I went through the whole spectrum of human emotion. I was hysterical, sad, scared, excited, shocked, thrilled, proud and utterly happy all at the same time. I couldn’t believe it. I had to listen to the message again, and again, and again. Sure enough it said the same thing each time I listened to it. I was a member of GAP. The following August me and 14 other students from across the country would set out on a three month adventure. Our lives would be constantly evolving and we would have to constantly adapt right alongside it. I quickly called my family, texted my friends and emailed my teachers. I even updated my Facebook status to let the world know of my excitement.

Now, a week from finishing the semester I’ve finally begun to process what the last few months of my life have looked like. I spent a month backpacking through the Wind River Range in Wyoming, I did a variety of service-learning projects in multiple states for 5 weeks, I have spent almost 6 weeks living with a host family and learning Spanish in Costa Rica, and I have met 14 incredible people who have become some of my best friends and biggest supporters. When I applied to GAP I focused on the adventures, the hands-on learning and the fact that I’d get to travel and see a lot of the U.S. and even another country. But, the funny thing is that I never really thought about the other students I’d get to meet. The fact that for three months I would spend nearly every single day with the same people. I didn’t think of the amazing bonds we would form, the laughter we would share or the deeply philosophical conversations we’d have about life and the future. I didn’t have a clue as to how great of an impact the Gap cohort would have on my life.

It’s been hard to process what the end of our semester really means. We’ve seen Elizabeth interviewing students applying for next year’s program. We’ve signed up for classes and picked where we want to live in campus. We’ve chosen meal plans and talked about what the transition would be like. But to actually experience the end of such an indescribable journey with such wonderful people, how do you process that? After months of creating inside jokes, sharing coffees, movie nights and singing pop songs in the vans our semester is going to end. People are going to go home and see their families, they’re going to celebrate the holidays and then in January start classes on campus and meet their roommates and the people on their floors. Our lives are going to change once again. Though I never realized how close I would really get to my fellow Gappers, there is no doubt in my mind now. When people ask me what I am going to miss the most about this semester or what my favorite part was, my answer will always be the people, my Gap family.

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