By Carmen Denia, Yale-NUS ’17 – See bio
When I was little, my mum baked in her free time and sold her cakes and cookies and brownies and pies and all sorts of wonderful goodies. She really had a flare for baking, but since her treats were for sale, I didn’t want to mess up her work so I just watched. (I usually lurked nearby so I could lick up the leftover batter or confectionery sugar, which explains why I was hyperactive as a kid. My bad :D)
Last weekend, I got to bake from scratch by myself for the first time. I took some pictures so I could share my super fabulous almost-burnt-but-not-yet peanut butter cookies!
(Clockwise) The ingredients, Creamed butter and sugar, Plus all the dry ingredients, My finished and mildly burnt babies cooling on the rack
While I was baking, I thought back to my decision to attend Yale-NUS and how everyone kept saying I was going to waste a year waiting for the school to open because I wasn’t going to do anything productive – and by productive, people meant going to school or taking a long-term job. I thought really hard then and decided that going to my best fit school was worth it and that I was going to do a lot of small, but new things instead with my free time. (YOLO, yes.)
I’m not saying that going on a gap year is for everyone. I’m just saying that it’s nice to have a lot of free time just to be after going through a high school experience that, while fun and rewarding, felt very compressed because kids always had to be doing something educational or useful. I did work during the first part of this long holiday, but nowadays when I wake up, only then do I decide whether I’d like to bike or bake, send snail mail to friends back in Singapore or read fanfiction, study French or dance with my dogs in the living room.
So for anyone out there who’s doing their uni apps – hopefully to apply to Yale-NUS! – don’t just brush off taking a gap year. Maybe it’s for you, maybe it’s not for you, but give it a chance before rejecting it.
You see, if you’re anything like me in high school, you’ll want to experience how nice it is to really be a teenager for once and have time to bake super fabulous almost-burnt-but-not-yet peanut butter cookies.