Pros and Cons Of Taking A Gap Year
Now that you’ve graduated high school, you’re prepared to take on the next stage of life by entering the glimmering halls of higher education. But maybe you aren’t quite ready just yet? Maybe you want a little me time before you enter a world of books, presentations and exams.
Don’t worry you’re not alone. In fact, taking a gap year is a popular option for recent high school graduates. Gap years, year long breaks between high school and college or university are when students are able to use their free time to travel aboard, work, volunteer, master a new skill or do all of the above! It’s a very popular thing to do in countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
It has a number of advantages but of course there are some drawbacks as well. So, if you’re considering taking a sabbatical, take a look at our list of pros and cons of taking a gap year.
- Chance To Explore and Discover Yourself
A gap year is an amazing opportunity to do something you’ve never done before. From travelling and seeing new places to working in fields you had no experience in, it’s a chance to try something different and see if it’s for you. You might just discover the right lifestyle for you or a brand new passion.
- Reflect on Your Future
A year is ample time for you to reflect on your future and the path forward. This can be an especially useful opportunity to those who are still unsure what to study in college or university. For other tips on how to decide what to study, read this article.
Some people also don’t feel mentally or emotionally ready to head into university life just yet. In your gap year, you can gain the experience you need to become more emotionally mature. Through work, volunteering or travelling you can gain essential life skills such as discipline and independence.
- Recharge Your Energy
Some people aren’t the academic type and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! Even high school can be an extremely stressful time especially with the pressures of standardized testing. You might need a little breather, some rest and recreation before you start it all again.
Mental health is a very important and sadly often neglected part of student life. Know your limits and respect them. A gap year can give you the much needed energy and clarity to refocus yourself and excel once you start university.
- Learn New Skills
The learning doesn’t have to start and end at university. Even in your gap year, you can give yourself an education by learning new skills or subjects. Master a language, pick up a craft, study in-depth. Gather these knowledge and skills will not only be fulfilling, it’ll also look impressive and be immensely useful. You can give yourself an edge over your future fellow students.
- Loss of Academic Momentum
The unfortunate thing about taking a gap year is you lose the smooth transition from high school to university. You might forget the finer details of some of the things you had previously learned.
More than that, it’s a drastic change working or travelling to going back to the grind of books, exams and assignments. Consequently, it might take you some time to readjust into the student lifestyle. Some people may readjust quickly but others may not.
- Delayed Graduation
Time is a valuable thing and while a gap year will not be wasted if you spend it constructively, it still puts you a year behind your peers.
Volunteer work and travelling for a year isn’t going to pay for itself! Most high school graduates are not independently wealthy and might not have the option of taking a gap year without family financial support. Unfortunately even if you do work, these days a high school diploma can only get you so far. The jobs available will be limited and pay significantly little. All in all, a gap year can be a costly financial burden especially if mismanaged.
Gap years aren’t for everyone, you might not be interested in taking one at all. But if you do, remember to plan it out. Use that year constructively, make it count and emerge from it as a better you.