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GAP YEARS: 3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD, 3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN'T
1. You’re burnt out from high school, especially Matric exams:
Staying up late to study doesn’t end after matriculation. In fact, it occurs more frequently. If you feel that you have no more energy, stamina or drive to go straight into another year of school, then a gap year might be a smart choice. “Coming from a very intense all-girls high school, I was not ready for university at all,” one student said of her gap year experience. “Academically, I was completely burned out from working so hard for four years, and I was also socially un-prepared, having essentially not been in a co-ed situation for four years… We’ve been in an academic setting our entire lives — there’s nothing wrong with taking time out to do something else. Taking a break from the academic grind allows for new and different but equally important experiences, and chances are, you’ll be better prepared and more excited for whatever you return to after your year off.”
2. You’ve never left home:
Maybe your university of choice is around the corner from your house, you’ve lived in the same town for your whole life or you’ve never left the country! A gap year is a great opportunity to get global experience. There are gap year programs EVERYWHERE so take a risk (another great part of a gap year) and try something exotic. Companies like CIEE and Rustic Pathways offer many community service-based, international programs especially for gap year students. Contiki offers travel tour groups at affordable prices to many international locations.
3. You feel lost:
It has been said that high school is the time to find yourself. Not always true! Sometimes it takes a more independent experience to test who you are. A gap year can be a great time to figure out who you are, what you like and why in a new environment – you might also discover some academic interests and potential university degree majors. This is a great experience to have before heading off to university, where you will be living without your family and high school friends. Be self-assured and confident and you can overcome any personal struggle and achieve your goals.
A gap year is a great time to push yourself to the max, so go for it! One collegiette with gap year experience said, “I learned how to live alone and how to organize my life without my parents’ help, and I got real-world experience that allowed me to have more perspective.” Gap years are also great for teaching you about real world activities like money management, doing laundry and taking out the trash – all things you may not have to do when living at home.
These are great reasons to take a gap year, but some students take this experience for the WRONG reasons!
Why You Should Not Consider A Gap Year
1. You Want to Travel the European Party Circuit:
Yes, it is exciting and appealing that in Europe the social scene is open to a younger crowd, but this should not be your only plan for your gap year! Traveling is great and so is being social, but be sure to include more cultural experiences besides the club culture. Every city has its hidden gems, so go out and find them! Explore, wander and ask questions. Traveling and gap years are also expensive; so don’t waste the opportunity by spending all of your time out late and sleeping all day.
2. You Were Rejected From the University You Applied To:
It can feel life-ending when you receive that rejection letter from your number one choice. Why didn’t they choose me? What did I do wrong? All valid questions, but their decision (in most cases) is final, so it’s time to move forward. If you were accepted to other schools, congratulations! After a brief mourning period and a pint of ice-cream, it’s time to pick yourself up, dust off those campus brochures, and get excited about university. It’s normal to be upset about getting rejected from your first choice school, but postponing going to university entirely will just make you feel worse.
3. It Sounds Good on a Resume:
A gap year can be a great point of interest on your resume, but it shouldn’t be your defining feature. Chances are, you have at least 18 years of other noteworthy experiences to share with a potential employer. Make your time last and do what you love, not what you think someone else would want to hear about.
Choosing to take a gap year is a big decision that takes thought, planning and money, so weigh your options wisely, students!
Do you have any experience from doing a Gap Year, yay or noay? Let us know in the comments!
Article adapted from Her Campus