All Grown Up

Posted on March 11, 2012 by


Name: Leong Sheng Hoay
Gap: June 2011 – August 2012
Education: A- Levels at Taylor’s College Subang Jaya 11’

Taking a gap year was a great way for me to explore the possibilities of my future careers. Since SPM, I’ve considered studying Mandarin, Linguistics, Psychology, Medicine, Law and Hospitality. That was how uncertain I was. Also, I finally had the time to handle the stress of university applications, as I couldn’t juggle between my 15- month A Levels course and university applications simultaneously.

I spent the first half of my gap year studying for SATs and writing up college essays. Though in between, I was lucky enough to land a job at A to Z Language Center , where I teach Japanese expatriates English. This was a great platform for me to start off with, as it reinforced my aspirations for teaching even more. Also, I finally found time to pursue another passion – climbing (which I had to delay for 2 years! :O ). I worked at Camp5 Indoor Climbing gym and gained real time experience in dealing with customers (and their safety!) in the gym and our own Café (where I learnt to cook and bake!). I also took up long distance running with my fellow climbers and participated in various running events. So far the furthest distance I ran is a mere 12km but I’m looking forward to my first Half Marathon coming June!

Most importantly though, was that I got to spend more time with my family. I suddenly had the spare time to have weekly lunch dates with my father and enjoy long conversations over dinner and supper with my family, a luxury I didn’t really have back in school/college. It’s great that I got to understand and bond with my family more.

Currently, I’m interning at the Paedietric Oncology lab in Hospital Malaya, to get a glimpse of how life as a researcher would work out for me in the future. There are many, many more things though that I would love to do during my gap year, such as learning tennis, the guitar, a foreign language, how to swim and travelling to a foreign country. I guess I can’t have it all! Unless I decide to go on another gap year, which I probably will at some point in my life and if time permits!

Taking a gap year is an immensely rewarding journey. It’s a different kind of maturity and growth, one you can’t get from formal learning environments and the textbooks you read. Depending on how you plan it, the different (and often surprising) outcomes serve as incredible life lessons that I’m sure one day when you look back at this decision, you’ll be proud that the gap year was a worthwhile experience.

Anyway, you there! I’m waiting for you to say, ‘Gap year? Count me in!’ J

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