The most common path that students choose to go through after high school is enrolling in a college or university. But, sometimes, life does not go as planned. You might not be sure of what you want to study or don’t feel ready to embark on this new journey just yet. Although schools offer great education opportunities, sometimes, for some people, enrolling in a university right after high school can lead to academic burnout. That’s why it’s more than okay to take some time off.
Many students might be hesitant to have a break from their educational journey and they could fear that by doing so, they will ruin their college admission chances. Is that true or just a myth? Well, before we can answer that, let’s first acknowledge the question: “what is a gap year?”.
What Is a Gap Year?
A gap year is a period you take as a break from your academic life. The break time frame can be one year, a semester, or a few months. Generally, there is a tendency for students to take a gap year between events of major importance, such as finishing high school. But, you can also have a gap year after having completed your undergraduate degree, having finished a big project, or after any other event that might have taken quite time, effort, and energy to finish
Why Take a Gap Year?
The reasons for taking a gap year might vary for each person. Some take a gap year to have a break from studying; others might do it to work and earn money, see the world, or develop new skills. While many might fear that a gap year might be wasted time, this isn’t the case at all. This opportunity to relax and work on yourself can help you greatly in the future. Results of the research done by the Gap Year Association, as well as the experiences shared by the people who took a gap year, show that there are real benefits that come from your break. Improving your academic performance, focusing on your future and determining your goals, gain life experience, and simply rest.
What to Do During a Gap Year?
Regardless of the reason, you decide to take a gap year, with the right activities to occupy your days, you can have both a fun and fruitful time.
Enrolling in a gap year program
The opportunities of what you can do during a gap year are endless. That is why it can become overwhelming to plan it all by yourself. In such cases joining a gap year program is a great solution. These programs aim to help people who want to take a break from school or work and offer a variety of options to choose from. You can choose a gap year program that takes place in your favorite country or one that enables you to visit various destinations. You can even pick gap year programs that focus on research, so you gain more knowledge in the field of choice.
Look for programs that have been accredited by the Gap Year Association, an organization recognized by the US Department of Justice and the US Federal Trade Commission. The accredited programs have demonstrated expertise and ability to facilitate high-quality gap placements.
Working a paid job
During a gap year, you can enhance the feeling of freedom by working and gaining financial freedom. Your job can help you acquire new skills and get the experience that might come in handy during college, postgraduate studies, and in the workplace. To make the year even more fun, you can apply for jobs abroad.
You can choose to support a good cause and gain experience by volunteering during your gap year. Many volunteering programs run projects on conserving wildlife, building schools, houses, or teaching children.
If you have any doubts, you can always read blogs written by volunteers where they go on and on about their experiences. Checking sites like GapForce or Go Overseas might give answers to many questions that you might have regarding this subject.
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One of the most common activities and reasons why people take gap years is traveling. You can experience and explore different places, learn about other cultures, acquire their language, try new foods, and visit historical landmarks, to name a few things.
Spending time with your loved ones
For many, going to college is the first time they’ll live away from their family. So, why not use the gap year to spend more time with the people you love? Have movie marathons with your parents, go on a trip with your friends, or do volunteer work with one of your siblings. Use this opportunity you have to bond with your family and friends.
Learning to adult
There are some important skills that you need in college which schools might not have the chance to prepare you for. Many students don’t know how to do laundry or cook meals. Use your gap year to learn some essential life skills. You will feel better prepared to be on your own when the time comes.
Is a Gap Year Worth It?
So, knowing all you can benefit from a gap year, plus the productive activities you can partake in, we believe we have the answer to this question—yes, it is worth it.
However, it might not be for everybody. It all depends on what you want to be doing; you may prefer to continue with education immediately and go to college at the same time as your peers or take some time off to broaden your horizons.
Don’t just ask yourself, “Should I take a gap year” but take some time to see if it’s something you need. It is good to challenge yourself, but you should also know your limits and take a break before you break. Consider a gap year and come back stronger than before.