While my time in Sevilla hasn’t changed many of my plans for next year, it has caused me to reflect on my life before my gap year and has changed the way I will view my life in college and beyond.
Before embarking on my gap year age was such a defining factor in how I viewed others. Anyone older than me seemed wiser and cooler. In high school there are such rigid definitions of age and a very clear hierarchical system. If someone was just 6-months my senior it felt like they knew everything I didn’t and possessed all the self-confidence I lacked. To be fair, a lot changes mentally and physically between 14 and 18 but now those definitions seem so silly. I have friends who are 18 and friends who are 24. No one holds their age above another’s head as a sign of wisdom or self-assurance. We’re all figuring out adulthood in a different country. We all have varying levels of Spanish. We all have life experiences that some share and others lack. Though I know the definitions between age in college are a bit more relaxed than in high school, it will be weird to go back to that same hierarchical system. The idea that someone automatically deserves my respect because they are three years older seems preposterous to me now.
In terms of concrete plans for next year, my gap year has shown me how much I enjoy learning Spanish and has my renewed my commitment to continuing my Spanish education. Though I already planned of taking Spanish in college, I have thought about taking a class this summer in order to make sure I don’t regress over the break. Here I have friends from all over Europe who are at least bilingual in their native language and English, and in the process of becoming trilingual or quadrilingual. While this makes me feel lucky to have English as my native language but also a bit of a slacker for not knowing more.