Gap Year Resolution
I am about to enter my fourth and final year of Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
Now, I want to take a gap year to explore the world and satisfy my FOMO.
Why am I taking a gap year?
A gap year is a reset switch. If the thought of taking a gap year makes you feel scared, uncomfortable, and anxious, good.
That is what breaking the script is supposed to feel like. Until now, my life has been laid out for me.
Study, get good grades, get into Waterloo, get internships, get a software engineering job. (I am grateful to be in the shoes to complain in the first place.)
The better you are at following the script, the more options you will have.
Optionality opens up opportunities. But it can also prevent you from embracing serendipity.
To me, life is not a risk minimization game. Instead, it’s a regret minimization game.
Jeff Bezos famously used the “regret minimization” principle, when he left his cushy hedge fund job in Wall Street to bet on the internet and what would eventually become Amazon.com.
I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that. But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried and I knew that that would haunt me every day. And so when I thought about it that way, it was an incredibly easy decision. If you can project yourself out to age 80 and think, “What will I think at time?” It gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion. I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year. When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus. And that’s the kind of thing then the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term then you can really make good life decisions that you won’t regret later.
Which will I regret more - The pay cut in graduating a year late?
Or the feeling 10 years down the line of “if only
The stars will never fully align. There will always be birthdays that you miss, money that you could have made, loved ones that you disappoint (a little).
But at the end of the day, would I rather live a life of acceding to other people — even people I care deeply about — and then blaming them for stifling me, or live life as I see fit, and eventually blame myself for having been a selfish prick?
It’s an easy choice.
- Won’t I lose my friends? Not the real ones.
- Won’t I miss out on savings? Yes, I am doing this to save myself from a lifetime of regret.
- Won’t I become disillusioned with engineering school, and never want to come back? I am so burnt out by Waterloo, it can only go up from here. Besides, I’d rather enjoy my final year.
- Won’t I have trouble meeting new people? Bruh if you’re not okay with that how are you gonna survive in real life anyway.
- Won’t I be sad when I see all my friends making $250k at Meta? No, I’ll mostly be happy for them. Also, referrals :).