Gap Year Students Enrich the Class of 2018 Mix

Published in MIT News on April 2, 2014, by Nancy DuVergne Smith, Alumni Association

Clemmie MitchellHow would you spend a year between high school graduation and your first year at MIT? Several members of the Class of 2018 took that gap year opportunity, and their adventures ranged from teaching in a Tanzanian village to working in a San Francisco startup on the verge of acquisition.

Clemmie Mitchell from Scotland taught English in a Tanzanian village school. “Deciding to take a gap year, after having been accepted to MIT, seemed like the perfect scenario for me,” she says. “While intellectual development is undoubtedly essential for a fulfilled existence, the idea of freedom and exploration has always thrilled me.”

Her first stop was living with a Tanzanian family, teaching English to children and teachers in an impoverished school district, and taking part in village life from communions to cooking. “The family, the school children, and the other characters in the village with whom I became friends showed me the essence of happiness,” she says. “It does not stem from things but rather from relationships.”

Her next stop was Australia, where she backpacked through rugged terrain and worked at a cattle station, tending animals, mending fences, and caring for an elderly woman. “By living entirely within my means, with no more than my back-pack and an open mind, I was able to understand how little was ‘enough.’”

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