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Hoffschneider, Jessica

Jessica Hoffschneider
Acalanes Class of 2006
Gap Year, B.A. UC Davis, Masters Degree San Francisco State, 
Teacher and Coach at Campolindo

During her senior year at Acalanes, Jessica applied to 4-year colleges because that's what her friends were doing and what her parents expected her to do. She sat down, filling out forms and checking boxes, a little excited about the following year but with a nagging feeling that there had to be something else she could do instead. A friend suggested living in a foreign country through Rotary Youth Exchange. Jessica liked the idea.

She found the local counselor and, eight months later, as her friends were packing up their parents' cars to drive to their various UCs and CSUs, she was already living in Santiago, Chile with a host family and making friends from all around the world. During that year she learned to be open to new experiences and deal with obstacles she thought she would never face. She came back to California completely fluent in Spanish.

At times she worried whether she was "missing out" on friend activities back home, but she soon realized the unique experiences she was having abroad were far more valuable and worthwhile.

Upon returning, she attended UC Davis where her experiences and the resiliency she had built in her year in Chile served her well. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UC Davis and went on to get a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University. Jessica is currently a Teacher and Coach at Campolindo High School and is enjoying her life. 

Now, ten years after graduating high school, all her friends have told her they wish they had taken a gap year. Looking back, Jessica thinks it was a great decision for her. She was able to connect with people who she never would have met, experience a new continent, and learn that she could handle any challenge.