Teen Spirit’s first semester at Gap Year University (GYU) is moving
along nicely. Well, it’s not like they send out a progress report or
anything. But from what Smartmom can tell, Teen Spirit is learning a
lot about himself and maybe even life.
Of course, there are no formal classes at GYU. And there are neither
classrooms nor professors. Like the School of Hard Knocks, another Gap
Year college, the learning takes place in the real world. The
instruction? It’s whatever you pick up on the way.
At GYU, the only requirement is getting a job. Teen Spirit took the
most basic course he could find: Grunt Work 101, which turned out to be
a job at a warehouse in Red Hook for 30 hours a week.
And what a great learning experience that was. TS had to get to work
on time, follow orders and spend the day on his feet packing and moving
boxes. He came home from work exhausted, hot and sweaty.
Work. Real Work. What could be better?
There were other learning experiences, too. He tried to open a bank account, but found out
that you need a passport or driver’s license to do that. He had to
figure out where to get his checks cashed in lieu of a bank account.
Aside from the First Bank of Mom, he learned that there are check
cashing places all over the city that charge a fee.
And he had to learn how to save his new money, and that what used to
seem like a lot of money isn’t all that much after you buy yourself a
new Xbox and pay for your own food, transportation and entertainment
expenses without an allowance.
He is not, however, being charged rent. Not yet anyway.
Alas, the job at the warehouse was a temporary stint. And now that
it’s over, he’s looking for a new one — and in this economy that can be
a bit daunting.
So that’s a learning experience, too.
You’ve got to network and make phone calls. You need to check
Craig’s List, talk to friends, write a resume and to learn how to
present yourself in a job interview.
What about the social life at Gap Year University? It’s not like
there’s a student center or a cafeteria. And there don’t seem to be
school dances or clubs. Luckily, he has plenty of friends who are still
in high school and quite a few friends at local colleges.
And the food.
Teen Spirit has been making good use of the family’s panini maker,
something he disparaged just months ago as “terribly bourgeois.”
You can’t say much for dormitory life at GYU when the dorm room is
actually the room you grew up in and the kids down he hall are his
parents and his sister, the Oh So Feisty One.
So in a way, Smartmom, Hepcat and OSFO have become Teen Spirit’s suite mates.
He and Hepcat have even developed all kinds of fun nightly rituals
like watching David Letterman and Craig Ferguson and ordering
cheeseburgers from Purity Diner at midnight.
They’re practically a fraternity.
At GYU, Teen Spirit has really thrown himself into his music and is
writing a lot of great songs for his solo act as well as his band, Bad
So all in all, what does Smartmom think about GYU? Would she recommend it to her friends?
Sure. Why not? The price is right. While she’s not sure if it would
score very high in US News and World Report, it does seem to be the
right place for her creative and independent son.
And the best part is that he’s definitely coming home for Thanksgiving.