Skyline grad extols benefits of gap year; USA Gap Year Fair to be held Jan. 22 at Skyline High School

Story and video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

When Jordan Tirico graduated from Skyline High School in 2018, he knew he wasn’t ready right away to walk into a college classroom.

And so he took a gap year—spending six memorable months in first Guatemala and then Barcelona.

“I think the principal reason I took a gap year was my desire to shift my life priorities and shake myself from the sometimes subduing cycle of formal education,” said Jordan, now a freshman at Stanford University. “I wanted to learn in a more experiential way, a manner that is perhaps more important to our future than how we learn in school. The endless list of experiences and challenges I faced in my 12 months away from school added a distinct, new, and important dimension to my experience as an individual.”

Jordan Tirico in Guatemala
Jordan Tirico in Guatemala

It’s a year he wouldn’t trade for anything.

“From overnight bus rides in Northern Spain, to nights spent laughing hysterically under Guatemalan skies, my gap year often felt like a waking dream,” he said. “But acknowledging the realities of stepping out of your comfort zone is important; it was not an easy vacation. There were moments I missed home, moments I felt lost, and moments I wondered if I made the right decision. But looking back on what my gap year has given me, I’ve realized that without those moments of discomfort, there is no lasting change. So, my advice to anyone considering a gap year is this: taking a year off from one’s education is certainly a privilege, and if you’re lucky enough to do it, it just might change your outlook on things that matter. This, the fundamental changing of perspective, is the most we can ask from a traveling experience. So go in without expectations, but open your mind and spirit to change, and something powerful will happen.”
Jordan in his Stanford dorm room today.
Jordan in his Stanford dorm room today.


High school students considering a gap year after graduation will want to attend the USA Gap Fair Fair to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Skyline High School.  A presentation featuring gap year counselors and local gap year alumni will be held from 6 to 6:45 p.m., and the fair will run from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.

Taking time to do something personally important before or during college will bring more relevance and meaning to college and beyond, said  John B. Boshoven, AAPS’ college counseling coordinator, who is featured in the video above.

“Colleges are truly appreciative of students gaining personal focus which helps them do better in college and graduate on time,” he said.

To register for the free event, go to:

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