For UCLA student Mai Lee, a gap year program between high school and college proved to be instrumental in determining her academic trajectory.
"My values have shifted," she recalled to HuffPost Live's Jordan Freeman of her year living in a 2,000-person village in Senegal. "My interests have shifted, and during my experience through working through apprenticeships, I realized my passions, I found out what I was really interested in and what I really wanted to pursue."
Shifting gears before making the transition into college gave Lee a better perspective on what she truly wanted out of life.
"It's really driven me to want to study those kind of things and gain those skills and gain that knowledge in college," she continued. "It's really reinvigorated me in what I want to gain from my education here."
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation on gap year programs below.