Alex is an UnCollege fellow who, before his gap year, was inspired to break away from the norm and pursue alternative education. Now, as an UnCollege graduate, he has continued to travel the word, broaden his education, and will begin his journey to becoming a web developer this fall by attending coding bootcamps.
Can you tell me a little about your life before UnCollege?
My life before UnCollege would best be described as average. I got by school with average grades and wasn't too motivated to over achieve through High School. I tried my hand at a few AP classes and passed, not with flying colors, but I sure passed. I knew this uniterrputed traditional path was not for me. I had always noticed there had been a part of me that knew the traditional route for education was not the path for me. My parents knew and always supported my aspirations to break off from the norm and pursue an alternative way of growing and learning. To sum up how I was before the gap-year, I was confused, scared, and excited on how and where I would pursue that alternative path.
What have you been doing since your gap year experience?
Since completing UnCollege, I am proud to say that I have applied, been accepted, and will be attending an alternative form of education. Although I was admitted to a few colleges and universities, I had also been looking into Coding Bootcamps to become a Web Developer following the footsteps of my father. I can now proudly say that I'll be attending Coding Dojo's immersive web dev bootcamp in September of this year. Other than that, I had the absolute pleasure of pursuing my dreams of traveling through Southeast Asia. For three months and embarked on a journey with my girlfriend to travel through Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, and Thailand. Having been exposed to so much rich culture, sweet people, and crazy adventures I can say that I feel more than prepared to take my first few steps into the "real world".
What made you choose to take a gap year with UnCollege?
I chose UnCollege Gap Year because I knew that it was the best option for me. That traditional path of higher education did not appeal to me at all, maybe in the future... But I knew I wasn't ready for such a massive commitment at the age of 18. I was also raised in a household of entrepreneurs which has definitely exposed me to an alternative and uncommon way of life. I wanted to pursue that for my own life.
How was the UnCollege learning experience, and how has it affected you in the time since you graduated?
The UnCollege learning experience has definitely helped me find my professional self. I feel more confident going into any situation whether it is a college experience, a bootcamp, trade-school, a 9-5 job. What the incredible UnCollege staff does to help evolve the kids is spot-on. Since graduating I have not yet had a good opportunity to put the professional skills that I learned into play, I am looking forward to proving what I am capable of as I make a big transition to Seattle for Web Development.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people considering a gap year?
If you are considering one, and you have the means – take one. Do it. Do not hesitate, it will be the best thing you can do for yourself. Being able to take a year to grow up and figure yourself out more is something that I will forever be grateful I did. When taking a Gap Year, having structure was important for me, UnCollege gave this to me but is totally doable if planned correctly. UnCollege does hit all the boxes and if you are considering one make sure you travel, and learn/study (what you are interested in).
Any last words?
TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL, I cannot stress this enough; everyone who has the means to do it, MUST do it :)
Be open to this life; it is short, so make the best of it and pursue what you want with thirst and passion and you'll find yourself in a better place than you would ever imagine.