What is a Gap Year?
It is a constructive 12- month break taken from study or work for the student to pursue other interests, generally different from their regular life or line of work. The term gap year is given to students who take a year off after high school and before college (university). Further, some students may also take a gap year before starting the last stage of their secondary education or even after graduation to prepare themselves better before commencing work. A gap year can be a break taken between life stages.
Why Take a Gap Year?
It is an opportunity viewed by students to gain personal and professional experience, achieve certain goals and explore personal interests. If you consider taking a gap year, it is important to consider whether it is the right decision and what you gain from it. For example, if you are applying for a university or a professional course or role, you are expected to show what you have gained out of the year. It should be helpful, productive and exciting. Therefore while planning a gap year, you should plan how the activities you do during the year will help you gain better insights and help you transform intellectually and have a better understanding of the world and help you understand your personality better.
Most students are young and just out of school and do not have it figured out. This may lead to them dropping out of colleges and careers and switching their specializations. One of the advantages of taking a gap year is that it helps you choose what path you want to pursue. But at the same time, a gap year is not for everyone, so making informed and calculated decisions and not in haste is the best decision for yourself.
Advantages of a Gap Year
- Broaden Your View of the World: Seeing and experiencing another country’s culture and beliefs, appreciating it, and becoming aware of its global issues might be a great way to know about and explore a new country.
- Gain Relevant Work Experience: Working during your gap year provides you with much exposure to experience, knowledge, and skills, which can be highly valuable later when applying for jobs. You could also pursue vocation based degree programs such as nursing, law or veterinary science.
- Earn Some Money: Working a year after high school can help you earn money apart from gaining relevant work experience. This could help pay off part of your semester fees or accommodation, travel or textbooks.
- Prepare for College: A gap year can help you with the independence and maturity needed to make the most out of college life. University life is easy and fun for those who show passion, perseverance and passion. Further, it provides you with time to relax and calm down so that you do not tire yourself from going to university straight out of high school. Finally, it is an excellent time to prepare mentally for assignments and projects universities are known for. Although people advise not to defer college, a gap year can provide better college success. Develop Useful Contacts and Friends: Meeting a different range of people can help you develop valuable contacts that might help with your work at a later stage. Working with local people abroad will allow you to understand their culture and perspective you might gain lifelong friends.
- Challenge Yourself: Many students take a year off to tackle the challenges they have set for themselves and step out of their comfort zone and face their fears and challenges. Makes you feel refreshed and energized: Taking a break before starting university can make you feel energized and ready to start your course. In addition, if some students fail to get into their chosen college or university, they take a year gap and prepare better. Colleges also feel that students perform better and have a more developed personality if they join college after a year.
- Learn New Life Skills or Language: Learning a new foreign language can help you converse and gain confidence. It can sharpen your skills if you converse with a native speaker. As we live in a globalized world, learning a language or honing your skills with the existing one can always be better.
Disadvantages of a gap year:
- Never Make it Back to College: Once you have adjusted to the pace of working or away from your studies, you might get used to it and never go back to college. To prevent that, keep a deadline and stick to it.
- Social Stigma: Unfortunately, the social stigma present where friends and relatives who think a gap year is not good would pressure you to join college. They may think you as lazy or disinterested in not joining a college. You may need to either have a thick skin or educate them on the benefits.
- Monetary Issues: While there are high chances of you making money during the gap year, it could be financially stressful depending on how fruitfully you utilize your time. If you anticipate money to be a stressful aspect, plan how you will overcome it in advance.
- Missed chance with Friends: While you take your gap year, most friends will be going to college. Since you no longer will be in the same educational timeline, you could miss bonding with them, travelling during spring break etc.
Both the meaning and pros and cons have been included. It is up to the student to decide whether he wants to take a gap year or not.