You’ve likely heard your friends talking about taking a year off before getting back to the grind in college. But what is it? How do you do it? What’s the likelihood of making moves after?
Whatever you choose, you’ll find that taking some time off after high school can be beneficial to your mental health and make a positive impact as you discover yourself, your interests, and your passions.
What is a gap year?
A gap year is a chunk of time after high school that is dedicated to experiential learning. High school is tough, and the academic and social pressures can cause severe burnout. This is typically when high-school graduates find time to travel, find paid work, become an intern and make connections outside of the classroom – you know; “adulting”. Gap years have been described as a reset to deepen one’s practical, professional, and personal awareness. This can really help you gain confidence in your abilities to become independent which can greatly benefit someone when choosing a career and correlating major pathways in college.
Something to consider: taking a gap year isn’t for everyone. Think about the last time you took a vacation somewhere: when you returned, your motivation to do homework or clean your room was probably low. If this is your truth, consider some of the disadvantages of taking a gap year. Some students can feel a sense of lost momentum, fear of falling behind, and struggle knowing that the transition back to school may become more difficult. When we say that a gap year is heavy on planning, trust us (especially if you’re considering travel). One thing’s for sure, if you’re considering it, you should go into your gap year with a clear plan of what you’re aiming for. If you don’t keep focused and aim toward a goal, you’re likely to miss out on the positive advantages a gap year can offer.
Should you take a gap year?
A decision of this caliber totally shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, the only person who truly knows the answer to this question isn’t your parents or teachers; it’s you. Consider this your first “adult” decision. It’s important to consider the pros and cons when making a choice and know how valid you are when weighing out your options! This year has the potential to be the most amazing adventure of your life by shaping your perspective on what success means to you.
As always, go with your gut and remember that no matter which direction you take, we’re here to cheer you on and prepare you for your next steps!