Gap Years. This phrase has caused much controversy since its very existence. Its a very unorthodox path in comparison to going to college like everyone else. If you’re a High school senior or fresh out of community college, you’re probably trying to figure out what the hell you should do with your life. “Should I go to College?”, “If I go, which College?” or “Should I take a gap year?”. Trust me, you’re not the only one in this mind boggling dilemma and it is totally normal to feel unsure about such a big step in your future. If you’re like how I was, and are unsure about what career to stick to for the rest of your life or if college is even for you, this blog is especially for you.
The fact that you’re debating whether or not to take a gap year is enough to let you know that you probably should. If that line wasn’t persuasive enough, here are some reasons why you SHOULD take a gap year or years.
1) Do you know what career you’re interested in or what you want to do with the rest of your life?
I find it utterly ridiculous that a 16 or 18 year old should pick and stick to a career for the rest of their lives without any experience or background on said career. Nonetheless, they make you do it anyway. The great thing is, you can take as much time as you need to make this decision. Don’t let societal norms and pressure from outside forces make a life changing decision for you.
I took a few years off to make a decision between Architecture and Civil Engineering. Since I was 10, I wanted to be an Architect and over the years I engrained that into my head. After community college, I decided to get a job in an architecture firm and realized that I hated it so much! Imagine if I went into College/University while spending tens of thousands of dollars on a major I didn’t even like? Phew. After coming to terms with my flawed thinking, I decided to venture out into the career world to find my niche. Turns out it was Civil Engineering, and well, the rest is history. So take your time to make this crucial decision in your life, after all this is your life, take advantage of it.
2) Are you financially stable for college?
Now it’s time to talk about the biggest elephant in the room that no one likes to acknowledge. Money. As mom always said “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” . With that being said, please, please, please take your financial situation into consideration when making this decision. If you know you can’t afford it even after scholarships and loans, don’t go. It’s okay. It may suck, but it will suck way more when you have to drop out half way through because the piggy bank ran out! You can opt for a job for a year instead of traveling the whole time to help alleviate the money pressure. You can kill two birds with one stone by gaining work experience and extra financial support for when you decide to hop back into the learning game.
3) Are you mentally prepared for College? Do you need to find yourself?
Phew. After High school and community college, your girl was tired and I am sure some of you are right now. Another huge benefit I gained from my gap years are personal developments such as confidence, time management, diligence and self-assurance. I know this sounds extremely cliché but I cannot stress how important this was for me and how important it will be for you. As I stroll around my current campus and interact with many young students, I realized that most of them lack confidence, determination and an actual work ethic. This in return, affects their college experience altogether and by the time they have figured out themselves, they’ve already graduated. Why not just get the best out your educational experience by going in mentally prepared? Use this gap as a time to work or travel to develop fundamental skills needed to survive this crazy World we call life.
4) Application complications such as Visa denial.
I swear I went through almost everything on this damn list. In 2017, I was denied a US Student visa and I felt like my World was about to crash and burn. I literally had no idea what to do at that moment in my life and thats why I decided to take another gap year. It prevented me from making any quick irrational decisions. If you happen to be going through a process that didn’t actually go as planned, such as applying for a student visa, it is okay to take a break and recoup. If a year seems to long, you can always try again in about 6 months. Its okay, just take a deep breath and do not make any irrational decisions you may regret in the near future.
Taking gap years does not make you lazy and it does not magically mess with your “momentum”. Look at it this way, if you really want to go to College but not right away, nothing will stop you from doing it in the future. From the traveling, to the work experience and most importantly the personal developments I gained along the way. I think that gap years benefited me to the point where I can’t even explain it. I hope these four questions and tips help you with this big decision you’re about to make! If you’re currently in this dilemma, let me know what you’re thinking in the comments below. Share it with your friends too! Stay tuned for more blogs like this!