Livia Bednarz: Gap Year
After graduating in 2020, Gunn alumna Livia Bednarz has spent her time working, designing and spending time with family. Unlike most seniors, who choose to attend a four-year university, Bednarz decided to take a gap year after high school, resuming her school journey as the class of 2025 at Tufts University.
For Bednarz, taking a gap year was influenced by her environment. “COVID-19 was the reason I took my gap year,” she said. “For a while, I was really against the idea because I was so excited for college to start. Looking back, however, I couldn’t be happier with my choice; I would take that year off even without the pandemic if I could do it over again.”
While she is glad to have taken the path that she did, taking a gap year was not an easy decision. “Seeing friends getting ready to go off to school and getting excited about classes certainly sparked some fear of missing out,” she said. “[My gap year] relied on making solid plans and following through with them. It’s intimidating to have a full year of nothing after being in school your whole life. It was super important to me to have some structure in my day-to-day life.”
During her gap year, Bednarz has taken up multiple jobs. “During the first semester of my gap year, I worked full time at Philz Coffee,” she said. “I often had the early shift, so I would be there from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. After work, I had a part-time gig in graphic design where I designed calendars, magnets and greeting cards for a company.”
The college application process is different for everyone who decides to take a gap year. Students can choose to either apply during senior year with all their other classmates or wait and apply during their gap year. Bednarz chose the former, as she was unsure of whether she would take a gap year at the time. “I have to recommend [applying during senior year], as I think that applying to schools while you’re still in the SAT and recommendation letter mindset makes it easier to buckle down and do the good work,” she said. “Gunn’s college counselors are a super helpful resource, and I appreciated having access to them while applying. After I got into college, I filled out a form asking to defer a year. They granted me the deference and officially enrolled me in the class of 2025.”
Bednarz says that taking a gap year has been very beneficial in many aspects of her life. “Between Zoom school, AP tests, college decisions coming out and all the emotion that surrounds graduating, a break from school was just what I needed,” she said. “Taking a year off let me enter my freshman year of college with a revived enthusiasm to learn. [It also] gave me the freedom to explore interests I hadn’t had time to delve into at Gunn.”
In giving advice to seniors considering taking a gap year, Bednarz says the opportunity exceeded her expectations. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. “Knowing what I know now, I would have taken a gap year even without the pandemic. I really urge all seniors to think about what you could do in a whole year and reflect on if you’d benefit from some time away from school.”