I last shared with you a MAJOR DECISION we made and the FIRST STEP we will take to prepare Arielle, our eldest, for college. That is, taking a gap year. Next question to ask: What to do during the gap year.
Let me tell you again that lately, I’ve been feeling scared about this whole college thing. I
told you admitted that in my last post. When I think about college preparation and Arielle graduating from high school this coming March/April 2015, it makes me feel like I’m a bad and somewhat careless or negligent mom because I feel that I haven’t been doing my part to actually start doing what’s needed to prepare her for college. I’m still very much in our homeschooling routine of finishing quarter after quarter and presenting portfolios. Arielle, too, has asked us many times “What am I going to do during my gap year?”, and I couldn’t give her a clear answer. Every time she’d ask the question, I feel stumped.
Because of that, I’ve instinctively thrown the question to God every time, hoping I’d get an answer from Him right away. But He didn’t. So I just went on with our life and homeschooled day after day. Until recently, I’ve started feeling anxious about it again and so I prayed to God as honest and as straightforward as I could be. I told Him, “God, please show me how to prepare for Arielle’s college. Show us what to do and how to do it. It’s beginning to scare me.” As always, God’s timing is perfect. He knows when to catch me when I’m panicking or in distress. Unexpectedly, I got my speedy answer from God last week which gave me quite a big relief and made me very happy and thankful!
Since I was already beginning to THINK about the work involved in college preparation AND WORRY is starting to creep in, I reminded Arielle to keep on checking at the websites of the schools she’s interested in, locally and abroad, so we would be updated especially on the college applications. She really wants to take up Animation and so she searched (again; she’s really been reading about the animation industry) for the top animation schools and saw an article where the school, SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, was included in the Top 10 list. It was ranked Top 3. When she mentioned SCAD to me, I instantly wondered if it was the same school in Hongkong mentioned to me last October by her Ninang (godmother) who lives there. I checked my phone for our past chat and it IS the school that she had told me about before but I didn’t really pay much attention to it since our chat ended abruptly. After that recall, it felt like a light bulb lit up because that only means that we have another option and the good news is…it’s located in Asia! That alone would dispel my motherly fear of having our daughter separated and so many miles away from us, if Arielle does end up studying abroad for college. That really lifted my spirits! It would just be a short plane ride away from Manila as compared to USC (University of Southern California) and CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), schools known for Animation, which are both in the U.S.A. and which Arielle is hoping to go to.
Before I give you the impression that the cost involved in sending our daughters to college is NOT AT ALL an issue to us, for us to be even THINKING of applying in international schools, I will tell you that this is another BIG LEAP OF FAITH we are going to take, another BIG CONCERN which we are SURRENDERING to God (who happens to be BIGGER than our problems, right?). The feeling that comes with it is much like how it was when we were trying to decide whether to homeschool or not. It is a HUMBLING act of SURRENDER. Every time Mike and I discuss this, especially with friends, I find myself mum about it because just thinking about the finances involved is TOO OVERWHELMING for me. But seeing how driven Mike is on helping Arielle pursue her love for art and passion for Animation (which is best taken up abroad) and how he’s really doing his best to provide for us, his family, and for the future needs of our daughters, most especially on education, I get encouraged and at least, feel positive that we, AT LEAST, give it a shot.
I digressed a bit. Back to what to do during our gap year. So, last week, after dinner, Arielle showed her Papa the website of SCAD and they both spent time together reading about the school and its application requirements. And what do you know? After they’ve finished reading as much info as they could and me hearing bits and pieces of their conversation from where I was seated, I suddenly found myself giving Arielle a rundown of the things she needed to do to prepare for her college application, locally and abroad. #1, #2, #3…. We both now know what to do during her gap year. I felt God had spoken to me from nowhere! If before, I could only see my feet below as I take one step at a time in my journey, I now could see that the path ahead of me is starting to clear up! God, you are AMAZING!
Though this list or action plan may not strictly pass or qualify as the acceptable or normal activities done during a gap year (like the way it’s being practiced in the U.S. or Europe), for me, the break Arielle will have before she finally enters college will give her the time to do what’s necessary such as:
- Organize her artworks (traditionally and digitally made) and build her portfolio
- Backup her portfolio files (and have a backup of her backup!)
- Possibly, continue her apprenticeship and look for other mentors
- Take courses to learn more about art, illustration, and other skills that would help her in her application
- Review for SAT
- Possibly, do another take of college entrance exam review for local colleges or just a refresher course
- Accept and do real jobs or services for others
- Learn more life skills such as cooking, laundry, banking transactions, budgeting, commuting, traveling, time and work management
And God’s amazingness doesn’t end there! The morning after the A-ha moment from God, when I woke up and checked my phone, my good friend in Virginia, USA, shared with me that the redesigned or new SAT will be administered in May 2016. Don’t you think that my friend’s update particularly on SAT was all in God’s perfect timing to answer my prayers? Plus, after checking out the travel fair of Philippine Airlines last Sunday, we were able to get a good discount for a trip to Hongkong in March 2015 to check out SCAD’s campus! Our good homeschooling family friend based in Hongkong is all ready to bring us around when I updated her of our booking and final travel dates while we were making plans at the travel fair. Just like that, doors were opened and plans were made. Things are now beginning to be less vague which are allowing us to plan, organize, and put everything in order. (We thought that we would also be able to book for a trip to California to check out the animation schools there but the time we should travel were off and we took it as a sign from God telling us not to push through with it. But oh my! The ticket prices were really discounted!).
With this, I am beginning to feel I am ready to face what’s next to come. I feel calmer now that God has answered me IN DETAIL how to prepare for college and what should keep us busy during Arielle’s gap year. I know that I would have more questions to ask and more concerns to lift up to God as we go along, but God knows everything! I truly believe that the future of our daughters are in His hands. Just as God has been faithful to us ever since we decide to homeschool, I believe that He will not leave us alone and will continue to take care of our daughters and provide for us.
Homeschooling, from the beginning, has been all about FAITH and SURRENDER. It continues to be so.