Going to college can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. It comes with a whole lot more independence and really lets you begin to define your life’s purpose. But for some, going straight to college after graduating from high school might be a daunting and confusing time. Some people just aren’t ready for that kind of independence, while others don’t know what they want to study yet. Some people just need a break from studying and some want to travel and experience new things.
In any case, it might be a good idea to consider taking a gap year. A gap year can be used for all sorts of purposes such as travel, work or volunteer experience, and generally to experience new things.
A gap year is still a learning year
So you’ve come out of twelve or more years of schooling and you’re considering not to add another four years just yet – does that mean you stop learning? No. A gap year teaches you so much about yourself and the world around you. It can help you explore your interests as well as experience some things you never had time for in school or might not have the time for in college, such as volunteering. If you travel, it will expose you to a number of new cultures, rich histories, and many different personalities and opinions. If you work, you gain some on-the-job experience. Just about anything you do in a gap year can teach you something.
A gap year can better prepare you for college
There are several ways that taking a gap year can help prepare you a bit better for college. Firstly, it gives you more time to think about what you really want to do. Not everyone is entirely sure of their life’s direction when graduating and a gap year gives you an opportunity to draw up a list of your main interests and take a chance to experience each more comprehensively. For example, you can job shadow in several fields while in your gap year, and because you have the time, it really gives the chance to experience those fields and appreciate your interest in them.
Even if you decide not to job shadow and prefer to travel or work in an unrelated field, you’ll learn several skills that will help you in college. Most importantly is the skill of interacting with people from different backgrounds. People who go to college straight from school are somewhat unused to this because they have not yet experienced the reality of people coming from different cities and countries to interact under the same roof. But interacting with people from different countries or just different people in retail can prepare you more for this.
Earning money during a gap year to save for college expenses is also very helpful.
So is a gap year for everyone?
Not everyone needs to take a gap year. Yes, there are many benefits to it, but for some people it’s simply unnecessary. Those who know exactly what they want to study and can’t wait to get started or who already have plans for internships or volunteer work might not benefit from a gap year. The best advice we would give is that if you’re unsure about college, at least consider taking a gap year.