A Gap Year of Progress: Part One

A Foreword:

Gap Years (colloquially known as “Gap Yah’s”) were once exclusively a rite of passage for middle class children from all over the Home Counties. It allowed them to escape the confines of Surrey and to ‘rediscover themselves’, only to be a nuisance in India, terrorising elephants and locals alike at the expense of their parent’s bank account. Gap years belonged to the type of teenager who would join in on the ‘Ohhhhhhh Jeremy Corbynnnn’ chants at Reading, yet would secretly own a copy of Margret Thatcher’s autobiography and rigorously stand by their local Tory MP. But nowadays, gap years more than ever cross over class divides with young people from all backgrounds now opting to take a year out before heading off to university.

“The Horror! The Horror!”

The final words from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness became an accurate depiction of the first few weeks of my gap year more than I care to admit. A month into it, I was not only unemployed, but also lacking any direction and rapidly becoming apathetic to the things I once enjoyed. Just as Marlow found himself sailing down the mysterious Congo River, I found myself voyaging down a stream of uncertainty, being whisked along by an undercurrent of ‘I’ve royally fucked it’ that had emerged from my absence of planning for life after results day. Due to the fact my life was becoming a tragic piece of performance art that had more in common with Teresa May’s negotiating skills in Brussels than anything else, I realised a brand new approach was needed if I was indeed to survive my gap year.