To start off our #MeetCohort12 series, we talked to Leo to find out more about his background and why he decided to take a gap year. Fortunate to have his parents support his decision to take a gap year, Leo hopes to use it to explore his passion for music and venture into entrepreneurship. Leo will begin his gap year in October with the largest UnCollege Cohort to date.UnCollege: Leo, what were you like growing up? What was your town like?
Leo: Growing up I was very introverted. I kept to myself, and only had two or three friends. However, I feel that because my family was always moving from town to town, keeping to myself was a way for me to cope with making close friends, and then leaving them two years later. That being said, I didn't grow up in one place for the majority of my life, which was both very difficult and rewarding. I don't think that I'm done growing up, but at this point in my life I feel that I have changed significantly and have a lot more to offer now that I am done with high school.
UnCollege: What’s your stance on school? Or what are your favorite and least favorite parts about school?
I like the idea of going to a place for learning and growth, where one can form connections and community with other people. However, in my schooling experience, I haven't found much enjoyment in the conventional. A lot of programs such as AP or IB feel too much like they are trying to mold a certain type of student rather than let that student explore his or her own interests and grow from there. I don't have anything against learning for the first 18 years of one's life, I just wish it could be more exciting and engaging. As a disclaimer, I don't resent anything that I've learned up until this point from school.
UnCollege: What do you like to do during your free time?
I listen to a lot of music, play the drum kit and play video games. I haven't really had a lot of free time these past two years because of school and there's probably a lot more that I would like to have done, like wrestle, and pick up the bass guitar. I hope to change that now that I'm done with school.
UnCollege: What led you to take a gap year?
I'm taking a gap year primarily to get out of my comfort zone. But I am hoping that during the 30 or so weeks, I can get at least an idea of what kind of career I want in the near future.
UnCollege: How did your parents respond?
My parents actually suggested I take a gap year instead of heading right into university.
UnCollege: What are you most excited about going into UnCollege? (phase, element, etc?)
Frankly, I am excited for every phase UnCollege gap year. Every phase offers something new to me. This being said, I am honestly more nervous than excited, since every phase is outside of my comfort zone. In the end, however, I don't think I have anything to lose by opting for this instead of university.
UnCollege: What are your goals for the gap year?
I don't really have specific milestone goals for the gap year, however, I would like to explore my interest in music, and understand more about it as a career. I would also like to learn more about entrepreneurship and just grow more as a person.
UnCollege: What’s your biggest fear going into the program?
My biggest fear is that I may not be able to adapt to the new and busy environment that I think is inherent to the Launch and Internship phases. I don't know entirely what to expect over the next 30 or so weeks and that kind of scares me as well.
UnCollege: What is your favorite quote?
I can't think of any standout quotes. I do find myself saying "Don't think, just do" often, which I think is a great motivational mantra.
UnCollege: What’s your six-word story?
A boy making sense of life.
UnCollege: Can you finish this sentence? In 5 years, you will find me...
In 5 years, you will find me... happy and thriving.