Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Maggie Kane
After completing high school at Canada’s National Ballet School, Mara Livezey K’13 decided to sign on for an extra year of professional dance training.
She moved out of the school dorms, where she had previously lived, and into an apartment. After a semester spent dancing and working, she decided she would rather go to college than enter the dance world.
“For me living in a dorm again was hard just because I didn’t want to,” Livezey said about her first quarter living at Kalamazoo College.
Aside from this, Livezey had few problems as she started college.
“For the group of us who did take a gap year, adjusting to college life seemed easier,” she said. “I think I was a lot more calm coming into college.”
Over the past three years K had 31 deferred applications, said Roderick Malcolm, Associate Director of Admission. 18 of those students enrolled in the College the next year.
Malcolm said this number represents some of the gap year students coming into the college, but does not account for those held off applying until the year before they came.
Hannah Gray K’13 spent her year between high school and college in Germany. She roomed with Livezey during their first year and agrees that she had an easier time adjusting to the social side of college.
She said it took a couple of months for her peers to get the craziness of living on their own out of their systems.
Re-adjusting to academics can pose other adjustment issues.
Betsy Brunnig K’16, who spent her gap year helping to supervise an upper school dorm in New Zealand, said starting classes did not faze her, but the outside work did.
“The homework has been really weird,” Brunnig said.
Although she worked 40-hour weeks in the boarding school dorms, Brunnig said her time off was her own. Now she spends time outside of class working on assignments.
“It’s not free time anymore. I still have to do stuff,” she added.
Willina Cain K’16 spent some of her gap year in China taking classes and the rest either working or traveling. She has been surprised at her willingness to finish homework for her classes.
“In my case, I just want to learn a whole bunch of stuff,” she said.
As Livezey comes to the end of her time at K, she said the gap year influence has carried over into her post-graduate planning. She wants to take more time off before looking at graduate schools.
“I think there’s no reason to rush into school because it’s not about getting into it fast. It’s about enjoying it while you’re in it,” she said.