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Why I Left School for a NOLS Semester

By Claire Burgeson on 10/15/18 9:50 AM


Photo by Claire Burgeson

The second week of my sophomore year of college, I walked into my 9:00 a.m. history class and asked myself, “What am I still doing here?”

I was doing what I'd always done: what was expected of me. I had graduated high school, chosen a college, and just chosen a major—journalism. I got good grades, had friends—on paper, I was a list of checked boxes.

At the same time, I felt my energy and creativity drain through the holes that the classroom grind had worn through me.

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Topics: study abroad, NOLS Mexico, Gap Year, outdoor semester, Semester in Baja, story

Tolerance for Uncertainty & Adversity

By Carolyn Highland on 2/22/17 10:31 AM


Not every day can be sunshine and rainbows. Photo by Carolyn Highland.

It was four in the morning, it was sideways sleeting, and the tent pole cup was broken. I stood huddled in my rain gear, aiming my headlamp down at my tentmate and my instructor, who were lying sideways on the icy snow, trying to speedy-stitch the stirrup back to the tent body before they lost all dexterity in their hands.

It was four in the morning and I was supposed to be snuggled up in my sleeping bag inside the tent, but instead I was outside getting pelted with rain on the side of a snowy mountain, the blackness around me increasing the sense of being in the absolute middle of nowhere.

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Topics: study abroad, Semester, NOLS New Zealand, Live the Dream, Gap Year

Choose Chai Every Time

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on 10/14/10 8:45 AM

NOLS Semester in India students on a chai break

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Topics: NOLS, study abroad, college drinking, National Outdoor Leadership School, drinking while studying abroad, Educators Notebook, chai, Semester in India, NOLS India, Gap Year