the perks of a gap year

In the news this past week was the announcement that President Obama’s first born, seventeen year old Malia, would be taking a gap year before beginning her freshman year at Harvard. And we have learned that although some colleges and universities encourage incoming freshmen a year of deferment in order to keep them from buckling under the pressure of college or burning out, that a gap year is actually the ultimate sign of luxury and sloth….spoiled young people taking time off to play and party and sleep and not grow up on schedule.

Of course.


Andrea Peyser and other expert critics like her presume much.

Jodie took a gap year. It was her plan B when the girlish wishes and hopes and dreams didn’t quite play out the way she imagined and fit into higher education aspirations. Not getting accepted into THE ONE SCHOOL she wanted to get into gave her pause to really think about where she wanted to be in four or five years and beyond…of course after lots of tears, anger and disappointment. Her gap year included fun adventures to some of her happy places but her gap year was mostly about working…working THREE jobs. Her year off after graduating from high school was time spent helping with some of the juggling here under The Big Top. Oh, and yes, there was sleeping because working as a professional princess and teaching dance and keeping the citizens of Manteca well caffeinated can be exhausting.

A gap year is a luxury? If so I am glad that my daughter could afford such a luxury…even if her parents most assuredly are not in the top tax bracket. For Jodie, the gap year proved to be the best decision for this individual young person. It proved to be the right choice.

I’ll let Jodie share here:

Just like that, my freshman year here at Arizona State has come to an end. This year has definitely been a crazy one to say the least, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Not only did I join a sorority, ASU Delta Gamma, but through this chapter I was able to meet some of the most intelligent, driven, and caring women that I have ever known and have the privilege of calling my sisters. This semester I was given the opportunity to become my chapter’s Panhellenic Delegate representative, and it has been so exciting getting to know other Panhellenic women in our campus’ community. I also became involved in the ASU Programming and Activities Board – Tempe within the Live Entertainment department, and helped to plan numerous music events on campus, our homecoming comedy show with Joel McHale, as well as our spring Last Laugh comedy show. I’ve also been offered the position of Homecoming Parade Director and am so excited to start working on this and planning one of ASU and Tempe’s largest events of the year. I also started working at one of the Starbucks stores on campus and in my 7 months there was promoted to Barista Trainer and then again to Shift Supervisor. And of course, I have met so many amazing people this year and made some great friendships that I know will last. Obviously I can’t list everyone here, but you know who you are and I couldn’t have survived my freshman year without you. See you in August, Tempe, can’t wait to take on sophomore year!

And now, Jodie is home for the summer which means there is lots of hugs and giggles and a little more noise under The Big Top. It’s going to be a short summer for sure and a busy one for our circus but we intend to savor it all before this young lady heads back to Arizona.

My advice to the Obama family is ignore the haters and enjoy the fabulous young lady, who will always be your little girl, and what adventures come her way this next year before she takes on Harvard. Then again, I imagine they are already doing just that.