How to Gap Year

Well, 'How to Gap Year' the Hello Miss Jordan way. 

When Allie asked me if I'd like to do a little collab about our gap years, I thought it would be a unique chance to let you know what I did on my gap year, and that, no matter what you may be told, there is no right or wrong way to have a gap year. 

My gap year took me down an entirely different path from what was planned. As of August 2012, I was all set to go to the University of Birmingham to study English with Creative Writing. It was my second choice of university after being devastatingly unsuccessful to my first choice, Nottingham. I made the best of a bad situation and went to Birmingham. It was all looking good. I had my first choice of accommodation, I loved the course...but there was one thing that I hadn’t expected.

Love. It slapped me right in the face.

Actually, even that’s a lie. I actually wasn’t in love, but I was very heavily in ‘like’. I deferred my course because I started dating a boy who lived in Brighton. It wasn’t necessarily going anywhere and it was a huge risk, but the more I think about it now, I was never ready to go to that university. If I had been, I wouldn’t have taken a gap year.

My mum had sat me down and told me, “Jordan, you can either go to university and see if you can make it work long distance, or you can defer and see how it goes with him, and you can earn some money.”

So I did it. I rang Birmingham and I was officially a gap year student, although not in the traditional sense at all. I was taking a gap year in love.

Two days after deferring, we broke up. 

Three days after that, we got back together.

A month later, we admitted we loved each other.

Six months later, we were living together.

It slowly became worth it. And as we fell more and more in love with each other, the prospect of ever attending a university so far from home and from him seemed foreign. I tried to block it out, but I couldn’t. If I ever wanted to go, I had to make the decision at that moment. So in November 2012, I rang Birmingham once more and told them I was abandoning my place. And then, in a series of events, I contacted my old head of year, told him I was reapplying and he sent me into the UCAS system once more but with completely different options. This time, Brighton and Sussex.

I honestly thought I was going to Brighton. I put Sussex down as almost a backup option because I had spaces left. When they sent me an unconditional offer I was floored and accepted.

So from Birmingham to Sussex was my journey, all for love. And I am so glad I followed my heart and did it, because (spoiler alert!) we have now been together for two years. I think it was meant to be all along. I now can’t imagine living a good three hours away from my parents, and Brighton is so close I can see everyone I love whenever I want. It wasn’t easy, I ended up in a job I hated for the second half of my gap year and had to stay until early this year, but I have now escaped and am living happily with my boyfriend in our own house.

So I didn't go travelling. I didn't 'find myself' and I certainly didn't gain a whole new insight into the world. I did receive a lot of snide remarks saying, "Oh, I heard you dropped out of uni", like it was some kind of dirty mistake I had made. 

If what you do on your gap year is something YOU want to do, then it's not a mistake, it's an investment. I've just happened to invest in love.

You can read about Allie's gap year experience here, and it's very different from mine!

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