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  • Writer's pictureMadeline Kim

Gap semester antics: the prequel

Updated: May 11, 2022

I recently made a blog post here saying that I would be taking a leave of absence this fall. There’s a bit of time until the leave actually begins, but I’ve begun to take on projects and establish a plan for the semester:


In the spirit of saving the best for last, let’s start with the area I have the very least amount of progress in: my Webtoon series. I’ve been in a seemingly unending artist rut, and a large part of it is because I feel like an incompetent artist. If I wasn’t any good and seemingly nobody cared to see if the series continued, what was the point?

Since being in quarantine, I discovered Sadia Badiei, the dietitian behind the blog and YouTube channel Pick Up Limes. In her video “Building self-confidence,” she shares this quote: “the number one way to build confidence is to build competence.”

Of course, I’m no stranger to the mantra of “practice is perfect.” Still, a large part of me subconsciously expects me for rapid success. Until later on in high school, I was so used to instant praise for constantly mastering new skills. This inadvertently led me to associate something worth doing to something that I excel in.

The last Webtoon episode I’ve made was in late May. I’ve scrapped countless drafts since then because I worried I would be cluttering the Internet with subpar content. But hey, if “cluttering” the Internet with mediocre content is the cost of improving, so be it. The Internet doesn’t have a (known) limit as to how much creative content it can hold; why am I acting like I’m hogging a finite resource?


This section divides into four parts: the Tepper blog, my personal site, The Tartan, and social media.

The last time I’ve written for the Tepper blog was a couple of weeks ago. However, there was a point where I was contributing once a week even with a full course load. I miss being able to consistently share my world with readers and speak about topics important to me. Having a consistent update schedule for a college-affiliated blog seems difficult to do while being on leave, but I’m determined to instead focus on the factors that are in my favor, like extra time!

I’ve made one post on my personal site since the last time I made my last Tepper blog post. Slightly better progress than my Webtoon endeavors, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Since then, I have started writing a few posts that I want to queue up for the next couple of weeks. The foundations for a regular upload cycle is being built; I just need to stick with it!

I haven’t written any articles for The Tartan, but I haven’t abandoned it. For now, I’ve been focusing more on the behind-the-scenes and helping the organization adapt to the COVID-world. Our Monday meetings have not only helped us establish goals but also a sense of normalcy. Of course, I’m saddened that I won’t be able to see any of them physically or surprise them with baked treats, but seeing their faces every week reminds me why I love being at Carnegie Mellon!

Now, for the final part: social media. I’ve been doing a better job updating my Instagram. I’ve also made friends who share similar interests and passions, especially regarding mental health. I also have started working with the clothing brand That Sounds Gay. This is the first time I’m collaborating with a brand, but I’m excited to see where this endeavor takes me!


I’ve made two YouTube videos since my last blog post here. Like I mentioned under my Webtoon update, the fear of “cluttering” the Internet with mediocre content has been a major obstacle. Again, I’m reminding myself that competence builds confidence. Simply enjoying filming and editing are good enough reasons to continue, given that I’m taking care of my responsibilities. This leads us to perhaps the most exciting update…

My Summer/Fall internship!

It seems like just last week when I was panicking over not having an internship. Okay, maybe it’s because it was just last week. But that’s beside the point.

I had almost forgotten that I applied to TurnUp, an emerging activism app, as a regional team intern. However, the social media director reached out and asked if I was interested in being an intern. I love the idea of being able to help connect youth activists to each other and political change; I’m beyond excited to be doing this full-time!

Of course, I intend to contribute to my father’s research. This past week, I got to whip out my data analysis skills for the first time in months. I had feared that these courses I took during my time as a business major were all in vain, but I have learned that there is no such thing. Less-used knowledge? Sure. But knowledge learned in vain? No.


If I was given a nickel every time I heard some variation of the phrase “a new normal,” I would never have to worry about financial stability ever again. Sadly that isn’t the case, but I am more at ease knowing that I have some semblance of structure for the next few months. Even if we can’t decide which way the wind blows, we can decide to change the sails.


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