Gap Year Phase 1

It’s been a bit of a tough week. If life had happened as we planned, we would have dropped M off at college last Sunday. Instead, she’s still here and there are daily posts on Facebook of moms reporting about college drop off accompanied by photos of smiling teenagers posing in their newly-decorated dorm rooms. One of M’s very best friends has already left town and the other is on her way soon. Meanwhile there’s a growing list of friends and acquaintances who’ve gotten the news that they’ll be learning online from their houses. While M still wishes she were just starting a fully normal college year, she’s glad that she opted out of online learning from home.

M’s gap year is necessarily a bunch of tentative plans: for right now, then for later September and October, then something else we hope will work out for November through April, and then next spring is still a work in progress. But as friends begin their college year, I’m glad that she’s keeping herself busy with Gap Year Phase 1.

She’s a census worker! Yay! I actually really love this. As a former history graduate student, I have a deep and abiding affection for the census in general, plus I just feel strongly that every person should be represented to keep our democracy strong. And M is interested in social sciences, so I think it’s a terrific experience for her which, let’s face it, only comes along once in a decade! And the pay is excellent — $20 an hour and more on Sundays.

M has completed all of her independent online training, so now she just has to attend a final conference call and then they’re setting her loose. A friend who’s also working for the census said that in our neighborhood, about one in four houses haven’t completed a census. So it’s likely she won’t have to go too, too far with her door-knocking, but she’s also visited all over the county for a previous job, so she’s not worried about that.

It took a bit of bureaucratic-red-tape wrangling to get started, so I’m glad that she’s finally got this job started as well as the work at the pizza place to keep her occupied as so many friends depart.

Now, cross your fingers for us that the other plans proceed as we hope, and maybe, years from now, she’ll be able to say that her Surprise Gap Year was actually pretty cool.


  1. Aliza

    My case lists have moved out of Niskayuna. Now that I’m a few weeks into enumerating, I think we’re getting more challenging lists – abandoned houses, people that don’t like to open their doors, missing houses, etc. It’s been a good experience though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *