Nina ’16 discovers herself and the world during her gap year

Nina Vogel ’16 is in the midst of her gap year right now before she heads to Dartmouth University next August. A gap year offers a chance to take a break from all the stress from high school and learn about oneself and the world before going to college by taking a year between high school and college off from school to do anything of one’s choosing. Vogel has used her gap year to get work experience and improve her Spanish skills.

For the first semester, Vogel participated in a Spanish cultural immersion program called “Where There Be Dragons,” through which she stayed with local families in Nicaragua and Guatemala and learned Spanish at local schools; she also participated in multi-day treks to other villages. For the remainder of the year, Vogel is working with an equestrian marketing company and working on her riding to compete in local show-jumping competitions while she maintains eligibility to compete.

Vogel said she loved her high school experience, which included being co-editor in chief of the UltraViolet, but it was very draining and difficult because she had such an intense athletic schedule in addition to rigorous academics.  

“I wanted to be able to broaden my horizons before continuing on to college,” Vogel said, “I wanted a new experience and a new take on things that will give me a little more direction in my passions before heading to college and to be able to reset in a constructive way.”

Vogel said that it was a challenging decision to take a gap year because she would be a year behind the rest of her peers and it may have been easier just to continue on the path that most people are on.

“I don’t know that I would have been unhappy had I [gone to college this year], but I’m really happy I had the courage to pull the trigger and try something a little different,” Vogel said, “I think I’m growing a lot as a person…having a stretch of time in my life where I’m doing things I haven’t done before with a little more freedom.”

Vogel strongly recommends the experience as a personal decision to try something different to complement one’s education.

“If somebody is particularly inspired by something and they want to follow that, or they simply want some new experiences, or are simply burned out by the pressure and intensity of Marlborough… they should go for it,” Vogel said.