after high school, before college :: considering a gap year experience

This post is sponsored by Praxis

This month held so much excitement for our family as my husband dashed to the finish line of his dissertation work, and earned his PhD!

I am incredibly proud of him, and honestly, am so glad he is done.  We’re all anticipating graduation in December.  As I waited for his dissertation defense to begin last week, my mind slipped back to when we met nearly 21 years ago…

Fresh out of our teen years, both involved in post-high school education, this husband-to-be laid out all his future plans.

After an undergraduate degree, he planned to keep on trucking to a doctorate before turning 30.

That’s nice, I thought.  He’s a guy with goals!  I was thoroughly impressed by such long-term vision.

What he told me later in the conversation, was how dating, marriage and all that comes with it was a plan for after the doctorate.  As in, after age 30.

Hmm…not so nice.

I remember finding a way to somehow slip in that waiting on a guy 10 years probably wasn’t in my plan.  Long story short, I did wait three years.

Then for the sake of starting a family, building a ministry, and a host of life’s ups and downs, he eventually pursued and finished said doctoral program a decade after the original goal.  Kudos hon, and thank you for waiting!

To this day, I’m still impressed he knew what he wanted from the very beginning.

High School then College?

Fast forward nearly two dozen years since our conversation, and here we sit with a 10th grader.  She’s watched her Dad work hard towards an educational goal, and she’s considering her own path after high school.

In our home, college isn’t pushed as the only option, but training in a marketable skill of some sort is  definitely a focus.

Whether this translates into 9 months or 9 years of further education for our children, the point is to use their God-given talents and abilities for a purpose!

Having a ‘next steps’ plan is important, and as parents, we help them to figure it all out.

Our girl wants to study linguistics (maybe be an interpreter/translator), and is thinking of how to gain a semester or two of experience in her field before (or in the first two years of) college.

We completely support this idea!

Considering a Gap Year Experience

Well…to a point I support the idea.

Here’s the deal:  my high schooler is studying Arabic.  In order to understand the culture and language more fully, her desire is to live, work and study in a Arabic-speaking nation.  Sounds easy right?

But, this Mama is already struggling with possibly sending her daughter off to the Middle East one day!  Yet, I know so much could be gained if this should truly be a plan for her:

  • confidence in her Arabic-speaking ability
  • personal experience with the culture
  • understanding outside of classroom learning
  • deeper global awareness
  • and more!

I just have to wrap my heart and mind around the idea, that’s all. 🙂


Introducing Praxis

A gap year, time off before or in the middle of college, is a viable option.  There are some incredible alternatives for young adults wanting a pause for the purpose of gaining real-life experience in their field.

Praxis is one such option!

This 10-month program combines the best of a paid internship, with project-based coursework and classes, to offer 18-25 year olds a different choice.

Ideal for young adults with a go-getter entrepreneurial spirit, Praxis students work 30 hours a week (with a guaranteed pay of $10 per hour), and complete another 10 hrs weekly on projects, courses and more.

In the end, completing the Praxis program offers:

  • a full year of experience working with business leaders
  • a business and liberal arts education
  • a portfolio of accomplishments endorsed by the internship partner business

You live and work in the area of the assigned internship, which runs from September to June or February through November.  

The application process is open for both 2014 sessions, but the deadline to apply for a February internship ends December 1, 2013. Follow Praxis on Facebook to keep up with information, or sign up for their newsletter (scroll down to bottom right).

While she’ll take a different path, my high schooler thought Praxis is ‘a cool idea’.  I think so too…a very cool idea!

In this ever-changing world of educational choices, it’s good to know there are choices for every kind of learner.


Want to share your thoughts? Click here to send me an email.


someone just mentioned this program to me yesterday. Do you know anyone who has gone through it? I am hoping to find a faith based option


Christa – no I do not. I’ve more recently learned about the program myself. Not sure about a faith-based option with a business focus, but I will ask in some online forums and see if any one else knows!

Sounds like an interesting program. I found you through G+, Jimmie Lanley. I understand about being a little nervous when your children want to go to the Middle East or other places that seem unsafe. I blogged about this recently- While this story was about my son, my daughters have gone on shorter trips to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

[…] mentioned yesterday how my husband’s dissertation work wrapped up this month.  In the middle of this, a […]

[…] excitement and goodness for our family…There are 2 music rehearsals, 3 Christmas concerts, 1 graduation ceremony, a church anniversary banquet, family & friends from out of […]