By: Krisandra Provencher
Coming onto campus as a Gap student has triggered an unhindered flow of questions. There are the students who know someone, who knows someone who, who knows someone who did Gap, there are the faculty that somewhat knew of the program’s existence, but not really, and there are the folks who have never heard of the Gap Program at all. So there are always questions, there is always a need for clarification and there is constant explaining.
You did what? Where? Wait…why weren’t you here, again? Oh, that’s right, I forgot that was a thing. Did you like it? Was it fun? Did you do some cool stuff? How did you, like, eat and stuff? Oh, so it was, like, a breeze? No work?! I bet that was nice. I’ve been to St. Louis before. You must like the outdoors and all that jazz, huh? You really missed out. Would you do it again? What did you do? Were the people nice? Y’all must be so close. I wish I did that. Oh, yeah and welcome to Elon!
How does one respond? How does someone, who four months ago was struggling to tell her host-family that she had a dog, explain how she got to Elon, and why she got here so late? For me it hasn’t been starting classes or finding my way to a cafeteria with edible food that has been challenging, but explaining what I did during the fall semester. At this point, I’m not sure that I have even be able to fully process all that I did, the things that I saw or what I experienced. I just know that I did it, that I met the most amazing people and that I miss it every day. So I respond that yes, it was fun, that my friends are the greatest and that I’m super excited to be here. I say that the food was flavorful, the experiences intense and “the stuff” was really cool. That I learned a lot and would recommend that if they ever get the chance to do something similar, that they take it.
Although my transition was abnormal, there is a simplicity to life at Elon. I have a schedule that won’t change for four months, I get to sleep in the same bed for more than a few days and I speak the language. But life as a Gap student was exciting and adventuresome. It’s so hard to process its finality. My new friends are great, my classes are intriguing and the weather is bearable, but it’s no Gap. Gap was like no other, and sitting at a desk for five hours a day seems mind-numbing after such an experience, but I’m so thrilled to be on campus. To get to open people’s eyes to what’s out there, to hold my own in conversations about controversial topics, and to utilize my experiences to challenge myself to aim higher. The Gap has helped me learn to expect more from myself, to question and to be curious, and for that I am forever grateful. Elon has already changed perspective on life in four months without even being on campus, so I’m super excited to see what the next three years bring!