Where are Seniors Going Next?
After graduating this year, the Senior Class of 2021 will move forward in many different directions. Here is a spotlight of a few of the graduates’ various plans for the future.
“If I was going to take time off, I wanted it to be really meaningful,” Katherine Cranman said about taking a gap year in Israel. This is what drew her to the program Year Course organized through Young Judaea. The year consists of three parts: a semester volunteering or interning in Tel Aviv, a semester learning in Jerusalem, and, in the middle, what is called “Adventure Month” — four weeks of travelling and exploring Israel. Katherine is particularly excited to “hopefully be volunteering with Magen David Adom,” the country’s emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service.
This past summer, Katherine had planned to go to Israel with her camp. Due to the pandemic, the trip was cancelled. Katherine feels that “COVID kind of ruined everything fun that was supposed to happen this year.” After this “draining year” she needs a break, and she said, “What is more of a break than not going to college?” When she finishes her year in Israel, Katherine plans to attend the University of Georgia, where she wants to study environmental health.
As of now, Nathaniel Borukhov is caught between three options for going forward next year: joining the American Marines, taking a gap year in Israel, or starting college straight away. He said, “For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to serve in the Army because as a citizen of this country I believe it’s my duty to protect our freedom — both as a Jew and an American.” He also believes that he could “learn a lot about leadership, and use my experiences from the marines and incorporate them into my life.”
Nathan is also drawn toward spending a year in Israel, because as he explained, “I also love Israel and I have a ton of family there.” He is considering a mechina called Ruach Hanegev. The program includes a Torah curriculum that Nathan appreciates since it is “based on what life’s going to look like after the program, our everyday life.”
However, despite his interest in both of these options, Nathan would also just like to “get college over with.” Currently, he is planning on going to Hofstra, but he said he is “still waiting to hear back from a few colleges before [he] fully commit[s].” Regardless of the specific college he chooses, or whether he takes some form of a gap year, Nathan knows he plans to eventually major in mechanical engineering. After college, before settling into a job, he said, “I plan on doing a U.S road trip where I drive to every state in America (minus Alaska and Hawaii).”
“I have a lot of family in Israel, which is ultimately what made me decide that I want to be there for the year,” Gefen Beldie said. She wants “to reconnect with everyone and participate in all the crazy stuff that they do.” However, at the suggestion of others, she looked into the gap year program Hevruta Hartman as well. In addition to looking forward to spending time with family, she found a program that, she stated, “really resonated with me, so now I’m really excited for both.”
Hevruta Hartman is “a non-denomination gap year program in Jerusalem, full of learning, volunteering, seeing family, and traveling,” she explained. After her year in Israel, Gefen will then start college at the University of Georgia, where she plans to study business or nutrition.
Kira Mermelstein explained that when someone starts looking at colleges, people will tell them that they will ‘just feel it’ when they step on the campus that was meant for them. When they claim this, Kira said, “You laugh at them because that’s so strange.” Nonetheless, just as they said, she knew when she found the college for her. “I visited UGA, and it felt right,” she recalled. “I just felt at home on that campus. And I visited a few times before because my brother was there, so I already kind of had an attachment to it.” Furthermore, UGA has the “added bonus of being close to home.” Kira is excited to continue to spend time with her family for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
Next year Kira will enter UGA’s School of Journalism and Communications. She is hoping to study the production of TV, movies, radios, and newspapers. Most of all, Kira is looking forward to “being in a bigger environment.” She said, “I’m excited to meet people who come from so many backgrounds that I’ve never even considered or experienced… and expand what I know about the world.”
Next year, Ryan Hellend will travel to Israel and attend Yeshivat Ashreinu. The program incorporates Torah learning, volunteering, and traveling. The chesed of this yeshiva originally caught Ryan’s attention; he said, “I like to do community service and be involved in the community… I just want to be out there actually helping out.” He also is looking forward to simply being in Israel experiencing everything the country has to offer.
After a year at the yeshiva, Ryan plans to attend Indiana University, where both of his parents also went for college. While unsure of what he specifically plans to study, he is excited for the college environment, and to, as he explained, “discover myself.”
After graduating, Noa Mishli will stay in Atlanta and work at a kindergarten for the year. She explained, “I don’t want to be in as much debt as I would be if I didn’t take a gap year, and also it would be nice to spend some time to relax and not go straight into college.” She plans to go to Hofstra University and pursue a degree in political science. Hofstra University appealed to her because of its location in New York and the courses it offers. She said, “I really like learning about the different governments and how they function, and I hope to go into politics when I’m older.”