Transitioning from Higher Education to the “Gap World”

by | Jun 4, 2020 | Featured, Gap Year, Get to Know Dynamy, Staff Blog, Supporting Students, What to Know

Making the Switch to a Gap Year Program

After eight years of professional experience in higher education, I made the move to work with students taking a gap year. Although I was prepared for what the gap world entailed, there are always things that you learn along the way with any journey in life. That’s what I was most excited about when I made the leap to work with gap year students. I knew I would be challenged in a way that I hadn’t been before, professionally, but I could use my already existing strengths that the Dynamy team saw in me during my interview.

In higher education, I was exposed to such a diverse population of students in terms of race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic background, geographical location, family dynamic, high school system, interests, and so much more on a daily basis. I learned so much about the world through the lens of the incredible students that I was able to work with each and every day. Some were prepared for college courses and the (intended) 4 year journey they were about to embark on. The truth is there’s much more to starting college then just the coursework. This is where I began to learn more about what a gap year had to offer, and how my experience could help students who need that year of growth. It’s not a year off. It’s a year of hard work, dedication, and finding yourself so that you are better prepared for what’s next.

The Dynamy Difference

Each and every student I work with at Dynamy is different. Sure, they are all taking a gap year and share some commonalities amongst each other, as humans do. The truth is every student has different reasons for why they want to take a gap year, and why Dynamy is the right fit for them. Let me break it down for you:

  • We follow an academic calendar year.
  • Gap year students complete up to three internships in/around the city of Worcester.
  • Students meet with an advisor each week for individualized coaching/mentorship.
  • Weekly house meeting/events in their apartments with their live-in Residential Coordinator (similar to a college RA or RD).
  • All students meet weekly as a collective unit with the programming staff to have that sense of community, togetherness, skill-based learning, and development.

That’s the basic shell of what a week looks like for a Dynamy student which equates to roughly a 40 hour commitment per week. Dynamy is special. I love the uniqueness of what it has to offer. It’s a domestic gap year program that gives students the opportunity to choose an area (or areas) of interest, interview at real businesses, work for those businesses to gain experience, and gain independent living skills all at the same time, with the guidance of an Advisor along the way. Being able to live in an apartment (not a residence hall) and be responsible for daily living habits like cooking and cleaning really prepares you for what it’s like to be on your own. Plus, you’re getting to complete three internships over the course of the academic year. In college, you’re lucky if they require you to even do one internship. So, yes, we’re setting the bar high at Dynamy. But you know what these students are getting? They are gaining professional references for their next steps. They are gaining real world work experience that colleges might have you do after your first semester of sophomore year if you’re lucky. I would hear college students apply for internships during their third year and not have any work experience at all. Our students at Dynamy are college bound and will already have a wide range of experiences to lean back on. This year, I worked with a student that completed three internships in the Information Technology field with three different companies. I also worked with students that completed an internship in a museum, in a biology lab, and then in culinary after that to try and see what was/wasn’t the right fit.  A year without a full course load of classes can really get our students to focus on other things while they decide what’s next. I remember how busy I was in high school. I was burnt out. You’ll hear a similar sentiment from our students. I can’t even imagine what that feeling is like for today’s students. Being involved in so many different activities, classwork, and coming home to a pile of homework, the personal time for self-care is few and far between. We work on that throughout the gap year experience to make it part of your routine in college so it’s now second nature. I love it.

Conclusion

The thing I love most about working at Dynamy? I’m glad you asked. It’s the one on one relationships that I get to build with students- hands down. Meeting with each student individually every week and seeing their progress over a full year is so rewarding and really helps to build a mentor to mentee relationship that gives a well-rounded experience for the student and advisor. I’ve grown so much as a professional this year by working with each student to craft their gap year. I’ve seen firsthand (working with first-year orientation in college) that not all first-year students are ready. I look at the group of students I was able to work with this year and can see how much more prepared they are because of their gap year. They have had more time to think about what they wanted to study, learn a new language in their free time, stay active at local gyms and workout facilities in Worcester to prepare for their Fall or Spring sport. Some of these students are going to work full time or go to trade school and they discovered that passion over the course of the year through experiential learning at their internship sites. It’s awesome and I can’t wait to hear what great things they will do next. Class of 2020, stay in touch. You’re always part of the Dynamy family!

Contact us today if you think a gap year or Dynamy might be the right choice for you!

More Blogs

A Time of Growth – My Gap Year Experience

My first semester at Dynamy was full of trials and growth. My first major struggle was my mental health. I no longer had the direct support of my family to help me get through rough patches, and I had to learn how to manage my depression by myself. This process was...

How My Internship Changed Me Forever & for the Better

It’s incredible how one internship can change the way we look at the world and most importantly ourselves. I went into my internship at ACE thinking I would teach the kids something, but they actually taught me more…. This fall semester I interned at ACE also known as...

Gaining Valuable Skills – A Gap Year Experience

Why I choose to take a gap year: Choosing to take a gap year was a long and thought out decision that started at the beginning of my junior year of high school after attending a local Chicago gap year fair. After considering many options, I loved the idea of...

My Internship Experience at Dynamy

Hi, My name is Sam and I'm finishing up my first semester at Dynamy. I chose to take a gap year because I don't know what I want to go to college for, so I thought taking a year and moving to a different state would give me a better Idea of what I want to do as a...

My Personal Growth at Dynamy

When I found out that I got into Berklee College of Music, I was so thrilled that I was going to be attending my dream school for the next four years of my life. But once the excitement wore off, reality started to set in, and so did my anxieties about the future. All...

My Choice to Take a Gap Year

Howdy! I suppose an introduction is in order if you are going to be reading this.  My name is Aliya Larkin and I am a Dynamy intern. I am currently working at an internship with the Worcester Business Journal which is a local newspaper.   I’ll just get right into why...

Trying Something New – A Dynamy Student Perspective

During my junior and beginning of my senior year of high school, I struggled with my next steps while everyone else was deciding where to go to college. Nothing felt perfect; I didn't get into the schools I convinced myself I wanted to go to, and I still wasn't sure...

Why I Chose Dynamy for My Gap Year

Hi!  I’m Isaiah, an intern at Dynamy. I’m from Arlington, Virginia, and I just graduated from high school this year.  I work as an intern for 141 Creative, a digital marketing firm.  Instead of going to college for the 2020 year, I decided to take a gap...

Growing Pains: A Dynamy Student Experience

Hello friends, I’m Faith, I’m 18 and I am here to share a little bit about my gap year experience. For me that happens to be with Dynamy. I’ve been here since September and boy do I have some stories to share. For the purpose of this blog I’m going to be sharing what...

Q & A with the Dynamy Admissions Team

We had a current Dynamy student, Isaiah Levy, come up with questions to ask our Admissions Team. We wanted to know what a current student who has been in the program for a month thought incoming applicants should know. Below are the questions by Isaiah and the answers...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

h

Apply

d

Visit

d

More Info

d

Video Tour

d

Subscribe

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Dynamy Internship Year, 27 Sever Street, Worcester, MA, 01609, http://www.dynamy.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact