By: Georgia S.
Describing the Civic Action Gap Semester as just a class, with lectures and homework, is an understatement. It is so much more than a class.
After deciding to take a gap year this spring, I knew that I wanted to engage in areas that I hadn’t been part of before. In addition to interning for Biden, the Gap Semester was a perfect opportunity to do just that. Made up of lectures, volunteerships, Spanish classes, and so much more, the Civic Action Gap Semester recognizes needs that have arisen during the pandemic and helps you create solutions.
When taking Spanish classes at my high school, I never expected that I would be using what I learned then in my volunteership now. I am working with an organization called Yo Quiero Yo Puedo, based in Mexico City, helping with financial education and the prevention of domestic violence.
All of the people that I work with are native Spanish speakers, so between my high school classes and the conversational Spanish skills that I’m learning in the Civic Action Gap Semester, I have been able to attend meetings and create summary presentations for weekly workshops. This volunteership has opened my eyes to not only some realities about the world, but also to what organizations are doing to help. I am honored to be helping Yo Quiero Yo Puedo in their work, and I am optimistic about the change that we can make through education so people can have more control over their lives.
Throughout the few months we have been working on the Gap Semester, the other students and I have gotten to know each other very well. Because we all live in different places, it has been really interesting to hear everyone’s stories. At the beginning, as we were adjusting to the work that we were doing and still getting to know each other, it was slightly overwhelming. As we have gotten more comfortable, talking and spending time with everyone in my cohort is something that I look forward to every week.
This cohort has also become a resource for advice on time management, college, and workload management. Although getting to know each other virtually can be hard, we have all become fast friends and spend time in the Llama Lounges chatting about anything from conspiracy theories to our favorite books and music to political discussions about the recent election. We recently had a Presentation Night, with people presenting on topics such as “Stereotypes about the Midwest” and “Sorting Each Taylor Swift Album into a Hogwarts House”. I am thankful to call these people my friends.
Finally, the work that we do in class has been so engaging, from the guest speakers that come talk to us to working on our writing pieces with Professor Grace Talusan. The guest speakers cover a range of topics, such as public health, racial justice, environmental conservation, and food justice. I never expected to meet the Chief Economics Correspondent of NPR, but I was able to ask him some questions the other day! Many of these topics I would not have learned otherwise, so these lectures have been fascinating. In addition, Professor Talusan has taught us different writing styles and how to analyze essays, photos, and poems over the past 11 weeks. She has shown us how college classes work, and her material is always thought-provoking.
All in all, the Civic Action Gap Semester has been a wonderful way to learn about interesting topics, connect with other people from a range of backgrounds, and create and complete projects for your community. And as an added bonus, you just might learn about the multiverse theory on Presentation Night!