Your parents have been on your back since your freshman year of high school. Now, you’ve made it to junior year, you’ve perused college campuses, received scholarships, and you even received a pre-acceptance letter to that one school no one has heard of. So, what now what? Did you decide on a major? Do you have enough money to cover the cost of books let alone endless ramen? Maybe, you’re tired of books and teachers’ dirty looks. If you’re hesitating or finding your joy of attending that Ivy waning. You may want to consider taking a gap year.
Now why would any individual in their right mind give up a year (or two) worth of time spent hitting the books and racing to graduation.
There are plenty of reasons why to take a gap year and here’s a few:
- Reflect on life and decide what you want to do with it.
- Find a job and not only build experience but pay for your education.
- Discover new places. You might decide to live abroad.
- Rest your mind in preparation of four to six more years of study
- Grow your social influence and network
- (Or if you’re like me) Follow your dream, and if you don’t like that dream anymore, move on to something else.
You shouldn’t try to force yourself into entering college without considering the costs, and not just the financial costs. Make sure to question your motives. Are you going to school because you enjoy learning and want to enter a career field that requires a strong educational background? Or are you attending because your family requires this of you?
There’s no right or wrong answers. It’s just what makes you happy and what makes you feel successful in life. The one thing that I did before deciding on taking a gap year was ask myself a few questions to find out what I should or should not do:
- Can I afford college, if I lose my scholarship, or with my parents’ lackluster incomes?
- Do I really want to major in pharmacology? Or do I want to go for that MFA in Creative Writing?
- How will I feel if I gain an MFA in Creative Writing and never use it?
- What alternatives to college can I go for?
- Should I take that full-time corporate job, with the benefits, and 401k match, at the age of eighteen?
You’ve got to determine what you want to do. And, that means creating some questions of your own. And answering them for yourself.
I decided to take a gap year. I needed the time to clear my mind and determine what path I wanted to take in life. I ended up taking more than a year off. I’m still in my gap years. I’m not really into the idea of pursuing a traditional college education. But, I’m learning about myself and my craft every day.
Taking a gap year is a big decision. But, it’s not going to make you any less of a student. If you are an individual who is self-directed, and self-motivated. I’d say go for it. Most of the time the world teaches you more than a classroom. Experience is the best teacher.
What do you think about taking a gap year? If you’re a student, would you go for it? If you’ve taken a gap year, can you tell me how it went? Or if you’re a parent, would you let your kid take a gap year?