Looking back on a fantastic gap year

SHARED EXPERIENCE Laura Craft has enjoyed her gap year.
SHARED EXPERIENCE Laura Craft has enjoyed her gap year.
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Laura Craft looks back on a life changing year working for the parish at St Mary’s church in Alverstoke

The experience is about enhancing and developing your sense of God’s calling in your life.

This sounded perfect for me – as I was looking for a change in direction at the time.

I had been teaching four and five-year-olds at a primary school and was looking for a change.

I’d been in the job, on and off, for three years and was getting quite tired of it.

While I loved being around the children and teaching itself, other aspects of the job were more tricky and tiring.

So here I am, sitting in the office at St Mary’s Church in Alverstoke, reflecting on all I have done during my time working in this parish.

The past year has been a varied and challenging one but one I wouldn’t change.

I have had such wonderful experiences in the different roles I have undertaken: helping run our two toddler groups and youth club, and leading our new assemblies’ team.

I was even given the opportunity to lead the Sunday service and even preaching sermons.

Before I started, I perceived Alverstoke as a posh community, where I would find it difficult to settle and it would be really hard to get to know people.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It’s a warm and welcoming community, made up of people who are so generous with their time and talents.

They welcomed me like one of the family and I truly felt like an adopted daughter of the parish.

I am very sad to be saying goodbye as this past year has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

However, I’m sure it won’t be long before I pop back to say hello – as no one likes to leave their family for too long, and that’s just exactly what the people in the parish are.

They have become my family.

I have completely stepped out of my comfort zone this year – but I have loved it.

My favourite moments have been with my fellow students: Michael, Hannah, Natalia and Imogen, and with Charlotte and Ben who run our year.

Sharing together, laughing and most importantly, eating, has made this year so much better.

I would encourage anyone to take part in the Discovery programme – expect to get chucked in the deep end, but enjoy every minute.