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Choosing a Gap Year: My Journey from the Field to the Lens and Landscaping

"I knew it was a bold move, but I was willing to embrace the unknown."

~ Coach Tyler Hunter


I've got a story to share about the tough decision I made at 18, which took me on a different path than most of my friends. You see, I was all set to pack my bags and head off to play football in college, but life had other plans for me. I decided to take a gap year, and let me tell you, it's been one heck of a great ride!


The dream of playing college football had been with me for as long as I could remember. I had the skills, the determination, and the passion for the game. My family and friends were excited to see me make that leap to the next level, and I was too. However, something kept nagging at me, telling me to pause and think things through.



I realized that I didn't want to rush into college without knowing if football was truly my future. I wanted to explore my other interests and gain some life experience, so I decided to take a gap year. I knew it was a bold move, but I was willing to embrace the unknown. During my gap year, I found myself juggling two meaningful jobs. The first was as a sports photographer. You know that saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, being behind the camera and capturing the emotions, energy, and essence of sports events was like telling a story with every click. It’s thrilling to be in the middle of the action, even if I’m not the one on the field.



My second job is here at Halftime Help. This one might not sound as glamorous, and it’s definitely not easy, but it’s taught me the value of hard work and dedication and it allows me the freedom to do photography and coach the sport I love at the same time. Now, here's the kicker – in addition to my two jobs, I took on a role that I never thought I'd find myself in. I became a coach for the freshman football team at ThunderRidge High School. Coaching has allowed me to stay connected to the sport I love and I’m able to share my knowledge and passion with young, eager players. It’s been an easy way to stay close to the game without the pressures and expectations of college football.



My gap year experience has taught me valuable life lessons. I’ve learned to balance my passions, manage my time, and appreciate the different aspects of life. It hasn’t been easy and there have definitely been moments when I questioned my decision. But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. Taking a gap year has allowed me to grow as an individual and explore various facets of myself. Right now, I'm content with where I am – capturing the beauty of sports through my lens and nurturing young talent on the field.


So, for all you out there facing tough decisions, don't be afraid to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Sometimes, a gap year can open doors you never even knew existed. Who knows where life will take me next, but I'm ready for whatever comes my way, and I'll be sure to keep you all posted on my journey. Until then, keep chasing those dreams!

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