New Student Spotlight: Paris Geolas

By: Paris Geolas | August 20, 2018
Topics: New Student Spotlight
Paris is an adventurer from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She loves to write, be outside, and play ultimate frisbee. We are so excited to have her joining us for our gap year program this fall!

The Winterline Global Skills Gap Year Program travels to 10 different countries over 9 months, where students learn 100 new life skills while traveling the world with their best friends.


Thinking about taking a gap year too?

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THE CONCEPT OF A GAP YEAR PROGRAM IS STILL NEW FOR MANY STUDENTS. WHEN WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE IDEA OF TAKING A GAP YEAR?

I first was introduced to the concept in my freshman year of high school and cast it aside almost immediately. For me it didn’t seem realistic and I’d had a fairly set track in my mind of what my future looked like, and I didn’t see pushing back college as a part of it.

Winterline Global Skills Paris Geolas
Paris hiking in Moab this summer.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

For my last two years of high school, I attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a two year boarding school which you apply to your sophomore year and if accepted, take mostly college classes for the remainder of high school. Having moved out at sixteen and essentially done two years of college already, I was looking for something a little bit different and was excited for the opportunity to take a break from a classroom setting. I found Winterline and became more excited for my future there than directly back into a desk chair, and that’s when I knew I wanted to take a gap year. 

WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?

I absolutely can’t wait for NOLS. I spent this summer living in the middle of the San Juan National Forest working as an ecology tour guide at a zipline retreat, which has been my first real exposure to living outside, so I’m excited for a little over a week of backpacking.

Winterline Global Skills Paris Geolas
The view from a bridge near Paris’ cabin in Colorado.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?

My favorite thing on this earth to do is write. No matter what I do or where I go, I’ll always be a writer. I’ve recently discovered a new sector of that passion, writing code. I’d like to go into computer science or political journalism. I know these are two very different fields but they excite me in ways that I want both of.

HAVE YOU TRAVELED BEFORE? IF SO, WHICH TRIP HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

I went to Iceland in February with a team from NCSSM. I had just been accepted to Winterline and was deciding whether or not to just jump in and do it or go to UNC as planned. As part of the trip, we took a day to climb the glacier Sólheimajökull, and as we made our way up and began to see the vastness of the land and the snow, our guide turned to me and said, “I used to work an office job before this. I wonder how I ever made it.” I knew then that I had to re-evaluate the way I thought about learning, success, and my career path. I knew then that being outside would always need to be a big part of my life. That trip taught me a lot about myself and the way I characterize the world, and helped me see things in a different light.

Winterline Global Skills Paris Geolas
Paris in Iceland

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN FROM YOUR GAP YEAR PROGRAM WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD?

I hope that over the next year I gain the ability to be comfortable doing things by myself. I tend to gravitate towards social situations and I love talking to people, but I’d like to be content living, thinking, and traveling on my own. I’m excited to get close with my peers, but I’m also excited to get closer with who I am.

what is one thing you want your future winterline peers to know about you?

I love ultimate frisbee so I’m always ready to throw a disc around!

why winterline?

None of the other programs I looked at even came close to Winterline. Ten countries in nine months? I will likely never get the chance to do that again in my lifetime. It was the only program I wanted and the only one I applied to.

Winterline Global Skills Paris Geolas
Paris in her bear hat!

tell us something fun about you!

I have this bear hat I like to wear that basically goes everywhere with me.

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