Kim Kelley: Hello everyone and welcome to the pepelwerk podcast. I'm Kim Kelly, the CEO and co-founder. This week's topic is all about a gap year and what does that mean? Should you do it? And today we're going to interview one of our talent members who is actually in the middle of her gap year. So there are a couple of blogs that we have out this week and some of our content that we're finding in just talking about what a gap year is, should people do it? And what our position is from pepelwerk is to say, you know why not? Because people have been doing gap years forever. We just have been calling it different things, and for every generation people do it at different stages of their life. So I'm going to introduce Mariah.
Mariah: Hi Kim, how are you doing today?
Kim Kelley: I'm good. That was so cute. So Mariah, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you, what does a gap year mean for you?
Mariah: So I was actually around all of my friends. I decided to go to college, you know, the opposite of a gap year and I was one of those people that didn't really understand what I would have been doing in college to make sense after college. And you know, I was kind of thinking about that five years after college and what that would've looked like, and if I liked that picture and I didn't really necessarily like that picture if I went to college, because I wouldn't know what I would have studied. So I did take a gap year, and just going into a different direction, and taking this time off was just more of a clarifying time to really highlight what I actually wanted to do and where I actually wanted it to be. So I just kind of went off that.
Kim Kelley: How did you deal with other people telling you that college was the only next step after you graduated high school?
Mariah: Oh, all the time. I have so many people. People didn't even give me credibility of being, you know, all of these words, smart or ambitious or all of those things, etc, because you weren't going to college, and nowadays people do look at that, especially in my generation. People look like, people look onto that as regardless of what you're studying, it just matters that you're in there. It just matters that you're doing it. It just matters that you're saying that you're going regardless of why you're going, and so it didn't really make sense to me and I just kind of blocked it out if I'm 100% honest because you know, at the end of the five years they're going to be sitting where they're going to be sitting and I'm going to be sitting where I'm going to be sitting. And I think I like where I sit a lot better.
Kim Kelley: So what was the decision that you, I guess maybe what was your decision process to say college maybe isn't not ever, it's just not right now. So how did you make that decision?
Mariah: I actually fully did the whole application and process to get into college and I just decided last minute whether I was going to finalize everything and go through with everything. If I liked what I was going and it costed a lot of money. And originally it was, you know, am I going to do the classes to go to a four year university? And that's going to be like the Math and the Science or the English and all of those things. And if not, was I just going to take a marketing psychology class? Which was two grand regardless and I didn't necessarily need them. I just kind of wanted them to be more well rounded, which can definitely happen later. I just didn't think it was smart spending money on something that I didn't have to have, because I wanted to go in a different direction which was real estate.
Kim Kelley: Okay, so you actually had made a decision based on cost and benefit. That's in the adult world. We call that cost benefit reward is the cost of what I'm doing going [crosstalk 00:03:45]
Mariah: Going to be beneficial?
Kim Kelley: Going to be worth the benefit at the end, and you already looked down like five years down the road of your life and you're like, that story may not be where I want to go, but what if it ends up being where you want to go? What if after the end of your gap year you're like, okay, I think I'm ready to go to college. Tell me how you think about what that learning experience would be like for you?
Mariah: I think it would be a great learning experience, but I do think that would really be the key thing of what it would be is true, an experienced, and that's kind of it basically because I just don't have a route that I can study in that makes me excited in college. That makes me think that I can make the amount of money that I do want to make, and if I did ever have that interest and desire to learn about, you know, something other than real estate, then I would definitely go to college.
Kim Kelley: Yeah. Well what do you say to people, well, obviously for pepelwerk, we think learning happens everywhere. We think when you're a talent on our pepelwerk app, we connect our talent with education that they can get regardless of the degree, but what you talked about, regardless of the outcomes, like you're just there to learn and you're there to learn something that's going to get you a job and you're there to, you're there on the app to be able to get the job. So it's like a full circle experience that we want to make sure that we make real for all of our users. So as one of our member, our talent members, how do you use pepelwerk to help you accomplish your gap year of discovery?
Mariah: Pepelwerk has really helped me just... It's just really directed me and highlighted the options that I have, and specifically things for me instead of just like a broad spectrum of, you know, the whole idea of college and the whole idea of school and [crosstalk 00:05:51]
Kim Kelley: So basically it's helping you getting matched with work that you are discovering?
Mariah: Yes. [crosstalk 00:05:57]
Kim Kelley: Yeah. I obviously was putting words in your mouth there, but I just want to make sure that our audience heard is what you do is you get matched with jobs and there are a variety of jobs based on the skills and the interest that you have.
Mariah: Yes, and those jobs have helped me take time to figure out what I wanted to do and figure out what I'm actually interested in. So in the end, I can make less mistakes doing what I'm doing now and pepelwerk has definitely helped me narrow that path to make it a little bit clearer and just to make it to where I don't mess up as many times as maybe I would have without it.
Kim Kelley: Well, let's say the idea of the older generations about people who do gap years is that you actually talked about it a little bit earlier. They think you're not smart, that you don't have any drive. You're being judged for all of these things, but all you're doing is going against the traditional path.
Kim Kelley: You're choosing, and what I've heard you say is that you thought consciously about what is it that interests me? How can I get to the path of making money sooner rather than later? What is my cost benefit reward? Now you're using pepelwerk to get you connected with jobs while you're discovering what it is that you want to do and you know that later on you're going to have options about education no matter what. So I mean, I would say after what you've just said to me, that you actually went through a very distinctive thought process about whether or not to do a gap year, whether or not to re... to invest in education and that you looked beyond the hype of [crosstalk 00:07:34]
Kim Kelley: A college experience.
Mariah: The hype and the brainwash of those specific words, I went to university, or I go to, you know, the U of A, I went to Texas State. I went to all of that and a lot of followup questions aren't even, what did you study or why are you going? It's really just, okay, cool. You went there. That's really all that matters, and to me that just doesn't really speak as much volume as I would like it to.
Kim Kelley: Yeah, that makes sense. Well, so we are not saying don't go to college, we're not saying college is bad or that choice of going to college is bad. We're simply bringing up options in how people make a transition into the next phase of their work life, and there are plenty of adults just for the record, there are plenty of adults that have degrees and they're doing jobs that have nothing to do with their degrees. So it was just treated as like a stamp like you went through the growing pains like me. So now I'm going to give you a job opportunity, and then there are plenty of people that never went to college and are completely successful or dropped out of college, that was really successful. And of course amazing brains that went the distance, eight years, 10 years of education and training and formal degrees, and they're using those degrees every day. So the point I think is really not, not go to college.
Mariah: Right, exactly. [crosstalk 00:08:51]
Kim Kelley: To think about it.
Mariah: Just to touch on that, because if I did have an interest that college offered, you know, it would be a total different story, but college doesn't have a real estate program and actually going to the U of A, and having my counselor type into Google and say, how do I go to real estate and real estate schools in Arizona? Was a clear indicator that I was at the wrong place. So if I had some type of interest or idea or picture in my head that college offered, I would absolutely go. If I knew it was going to make me money and if I knew that it was something I was interested in, but it just wasn't the case for me.
Kim Kelley: So okay. Actually, that's a little bit of a story there. So you went to talk to college counselors and instead of looking at options to just basically say come to the university, they were like, well let's think of a different learning path.
Mariah: Exactly, because I was, you know, 100% honest. Maybe I wasn't that brainwashed, and I was trying to figure out how I can place my interests in some form in college because it was such you need to go to college. And you know, my sister went to college, everyone around me went to college and it's not like I didn't want to go to college. Of course, I wanted to go, but I think I was trying to force it so much where to have someone that worked at a college literally cancel all of our tabs and make a new tab typing in real estate schools in Arizona was, you know, I just don't need to force it anymore.
Kim Kelley: Yeah.
Mariah: And I think I just came to a realization about that.
Kim Kelley: So now, I really am grateful that you are willing to be interviewed today for our podcast and that you've told a very transparent, honest story about your choice and your experience. So the punchline here for any of our parents listening or our employers deciding oh you know, how are they going to post jobs and what kind of talent they are connecting to on pepelwerk, we've already talked about the talents benefit for any, well really anything about getting jobs, but this isn't like a really long promo for pepelwerk. This is just making sure that people hear a punchline. So at the end of your gap year, what all actually, what does the end look like for you? How do you know that you've transitioned from a period of exploring who you are, exploring what you want to do, into really getting on the work path that you want?
Mariah: I don't really think it ends actually, I think it just begins with real estate state school, and going into the same way people began with college, whether they wanted to go for X, Y, and Z and whatever they went for. I just think it can start whenever you really want it to start.
Kim Kelley: So how do you determine success?
Mariah: I determine success in internally being happy with where you are and what you have done with the time that you've had, and being at a place that I mean, success, it's hard to answer that because it's determined for everyone differently because [crosstalk 00:11:47]
Kim Kelley: Yeah, and that's okay. Well, for you, what does success look like?
Mariah: Success for me looks like I'm rich and it looks like I have money. Yeah. That's really it. I would know that I'd be successful if I had a lot of money.
Kim Kelley: Well, a lot of money, okay. Well, so this is also a little bit of an interesting [crosstalk 00:12:06]
Kim Kelley: Well, yeah. It is obviously a conversation, but the deal with the idea that all of the next generation that everyone's so like, I want to save the world kind of purpose. You're just like, no, straight up. I want to be financially responsible, financially healthy, financially successful. And those decisions that don't make me that, isn't worth considering [crosstalk 00:12:30]
Mariah: It's a waste of time.
Kim Kelley: Yeah. Well I one, I respect the focus. I respect the perspective, and are there any words of advice that you would give people who are considering a gap year or any final words that you'd like to say about what a gap year could mean for anybody?
Mariah: I think everyone should just, you know, gap year is normally when you're done with high school, and I think at that time you need to ask what picture you want to paint for your life. And if you can't really paint that beautiful of a picture, you know, doing one route, then you might want to pick a different picture and start just thinking about other things rather than going with your peers and going with the motto of just school and just doing that.
Kim Kelley: So I will have to say that's awesome advice, and I will have to say as a disclaimer, Mariah as far as I know, has not used any of our coaching services, but if you're somebody who's listening and are like, I'm really not as clear about what that path looks like and you're a talent, look at our coaching services, talk with somebody about who, talk with somebody who's just experienced the working world.
Mariah: Exactly. I'm so happy you actually mentioned that, because of me going there and finding my own coach, which was ironically counselor at a university, and doing that and she basically, you know, told me I wasn't in the right spot and she directed me to where I needed to be, which made the light bulb completely go off, and make everything a little bit clearer to me because it's deep down what I wanted, but maybe it's not what I wanted to admit.
Kim Kelley: But you were also doing research and that's part of the process. So [crosstalk 00:14:08]
Mariah: Yeah, definitely.
Kim Kelley: Well, kudos to that. U of A, University of Arizona. [inaudible 00:14:12] down. Counselor who actually didn't just look at the sales game of sometimes what people give a university's counselors a rap for, but really looked at the person and had a genuine conversation. Well, congratulations Mariah, on it being, making that transition, approaching life decisions with such vigor and knowing that you just want the cash.
Kim Kelley: I mean, knowing the end game, knowing the end game and determining the end game is a big deal. So thank you, everyone, for listening. Thank you for Mariah [crosstalk 00:14:45]
Mariah: Yes, thank you so much.
Kim Kelley: Thanks for giving us the time. Remember, we think that work is about deciding how you want to contribute to the working world around you. We're glad you listened. If you have any comments or questions, let us know. We want to make content that's relevant to for you.