By: Eliza Upton
When I was first deciding to apply for the Gap Semester, I was a little thrown off that it would be first semester freshman year. I had the intimidating idea that coming to school in January would be extremely awkward and that while we were off traveling around the U.S. and Costa Rica, we would be missing out on critical freshman year happenings.
However, all that intimidation has been quickly shattered. Now, I laugh at the fact that I was worried about missing out on things on campus, when I can easily participate in them with the three more Falls I have here. And on the flip side, I may never again have the chance to live in the Wyoming wilderness for a month, have Dean Waters tour us around Yellowstone, see the U.S. through the eyes of a critical yet careless college student, and study abroad in Costa Rica. Now every time I see a NOLS instagram, get an email from Re-member, talk to the Costa Rican owner of Irazu Coffee, or text my host mom, I feel like I’m missing out on things that are going on in all the places that touched us first semester. The tables have turned and it’s a bit odd to feel so sentimental so soon.
All FOMO feelings aside, the transition to being at Elon has surprised me with the lack of intense awkwardness that I was expecting. While there have been plenty of awkward moments, like my second day on campus when I had to listen in on a prospective student tour to figure out where to study in the library, overall I feel welcome in my new home. With a lucky floor and roommate placement, I quickly found a friend group to add on to, and with the friendly faces of past Gap students all around campus, I feel like I am returning to a familiar place and not starting a new adventure. And even though the 2015 cohort consists of only fifteen, I find us to be a mighty presence here on campus as I seldom have a meal in one of the dining halls without running into a beloved Gap friend.
Now starting my seventh full week on campus—a time period that has felt like a few months—I am comfortable with the life I’ve made in this new home away from home. And while I have a lot of moments missing Gap, I confess that it is nice to be living out of dorm room and not a suitcase, and to know that I won’t have to pack up and leave in a few weeks.