#My100Days as a competitive figure skater

For Emilea Zingas (CGS’22), the gap semester has been a time to focus on what’s important in her life. Zingas used her gap semester to further her figure skating career, traveling for tournaments and training in preparation for joining the BU Skating Team next semester, while also working and taking a class. We spoke to Zingas about her gap semester, her figure skating career, and why she’s looking forward to figuring out what she wants to do through the CGS program.

Emilea Zingas skating in an international competition during her gap semester. Photo Courtesy Emilea Zingas

Why did you choose CGS?

I was looking at a few different schools, programs, and opportunities and CGS just seemed the best for me, since I knew I was going to be traveling in the fall semester before the pandemic hit. I knew I was going to be doing international competitions and I wanted to make that a priority, so taking school off completely and having that time was really important to me. Also, I am a bit undecided in my area of study at the moment so being able to get a little bit older and explore different things before I have to make a definite decision is also important to me.

How are you spending your gap semester?  

I have a job at a boutique 20 minutes away from my house. It’s a really small business but it’s cool to be able to help a newer and small business near me grow. I’m also training 20 hours a week on the ice and 10 hours a week off the ice so that’s a big time commitment. And I’m taking a Greek language class to get a few credits from a university at home, because I wanted to freshen up my Greek skills.

How has the time been valuable to you? 

This semester I’ve realized what’s important. I’ve been able to both prioritize my skating and get organized and focus on myself without social pressures and school pressures. Just being able to plan out my skating career and academic plans was a really good opportunity. And I’ve had fun. My friends are home because of the pandemic, so that’s been nice.

Emilea Zingas skating in an international competition during her gap semester. Photo Courtesy Emilea Zingas

What have been some of the most memorable moments of your gap semester so far?  

I had the opportunity to travel which is a really big deal now because of the pandemic. For international competition, I went to Budapest, Hungary twice and Minsk, Belarus. That would be my highlight because traveling for international competition, especially in figure skating is such a cool experience. You meet a lot of really nice people and you get to see the city. On the days that we had practice and we didn’t have competition, I would skate three hours in the morning and the rest of the day go out and see the city which was really cool. Also, since you’re exposed to a lot more people, including more judges, your name gets out there more so it helps your skating career in that sense. My mom and I went to the first two competitions together but this last one was just me and my coach so that was also a different experience. It was fun but it’s new so just being able to spend time alone with my mom and alone with my coach, growing with them and seeing where skating can take me has really just been awesome.

What advice would you give to future CGS students when planning their gap semesters?  

I think definitely keep yourself busy and keep yourself entertained and try new things. Personally, I’ve gotten into doing more yoga and cooking. It’s important to not let yourself slip away mentally because if you’re not taking classes sometimes you can forget about school. If you forget to be organized, those skills don’t always come back easily, so I would say definitely keep up on that end of things. Also, just try to make the most of it because it goes really fast. The fact that it’s almost over already is really weird, so make the most of it and experience everything that you want to do.

What were some of the skills you took out of the gap semester? What did you learn? 

I think the most important thing I learned is what’s important. A lot of times our judgement is clouded when we’re around other people, and when you have a time to yourself to prioritize things, it really is good for you. Another thing is time management. When you have all this time to yourself and it’s all on you really to decide what you want to do and what you want to make of it, it’s important to know how to manage your time. I think that’s a skill that carries on to a lot of things in life. That’s been a challenge for me but also something I’ve worked on and gotten better at. Also, with everything so uncertain because of the pandemic, it’s nice to have a plan.

What are you most looking forward to about the next four years?  

I’m excited to move to Boston; I love the city. And I’m excited to learn a lot and figure out what I want to do with my life, because I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to do yet. I am also excited to pursue my skating career further and am planning to skate on the Boston University Skating Team. I know BU has a really awesome environment, so there’s going to be people that are more like me than sometimes my hometown. I live in a pretty remote area of Michigan, so I’m excited for the change and the ability to be on the move, since I feel like Boston is so fast paced and I’m like that in my everyday life.

— Compiled by Meghan Bohannon