Illustration by Joanne Sally Mero

Have you heard? Gap year changes terrible kids’ life

*The Backdoor is “work” of “fiction” and “humor”

By Audrey Barrett

Taking a gap year is life changing: it inevitably turns an immature, wobbling lump of a high school graduate into a confident, culturally superior college freshman who can tell tons of stories to anyone who will listen. Terry Bull ’21 spent two weeks in sub-Saharan Africa last year, volunteering with a program working to bring potable water to impoverished communities. He then traveled to Europe and spent the remainder of his time in hostels, getting drunk and hooking up with French men and women. Judging by his popularity on Tinder due to the photos of himself with cute African children, the gap year was a transformative experience for Bull.

He feels like a “whole new person” now, having opened his eyes to other ways of life.

“I feel bad for anyone who is too scared to go out of their comfort zone,” Bull said.  “That’s where the growth happens, man!” Now, he talks down to people who lack the socio-economic privilege to experience third world countries from the padded comfort of five-star hotels and three rich meals a day.

“I guess I’m just more humble now,” Bull said. “I lived out of my backpack for a year and no longer feel the need to indulge in first world comforts. Honestly, anyone who needs more than three thrifted T-shirts is pretty selfish.” He returned home with dreadlocks and a bohemian attitude.

Bull often reminisces on Instagram, Snapchat and Tinder about the amazing people he met and how honored he was to be able to help them.

“They kept trying to carry the water on their heads, so I told them they should totally check out wheelbarrows or golf carts or buckets or something,” Bull said. “I’m so thankful I live in America where we have iPhones and real houses.”

Like many travelers, Bull found he was able to become more comfortable with his own disorganized life by comparing it to the conditions in a third world country. He can wear torn and used clothing by choice, his economic comfort enabling this stylish emulation of poverty. With his biggest concern being Bon farts and student debt, Bull realized he should stop being offended by Internet memes and start appreciating his situation.

Bull’s best piece of advice for Lewis & Clark students who have already missed out on a gap year is to try studying abroad to become as woke as him. There’s nothing like waking up somewhere in Europe with your new friends and going to a local coffee shop to reflect on your wild night while nursing a hangover. And helping starving children in Africa. That’s always a good resume builder.


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