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The "Gap Year": the good, the bad and the ugly

The gap year – a time to think, a time to reflect, a time to evolve. The gap year is essentially a time period between finishing high school and starting university in which a person decides what to do, for example travel, work or just chill while his or her peers start attending higher education institutions. Many students consider the gap year to be useless, a simple loss of time, they think that whoever enjoys this “empty” year is just too lazy to start university immediately after school. This, however is totally untrue as many youngsters feel the need to gather more experience before diving into university life. So, if you or some of your friends consider this option, what are the pros and cons to be kept in mind?

Positive sides

Having time to reflect on who you are and what you want

You graduated, good job. Now what? Trust us, the majority of students ask the exact same question over and over again, even after graduating university! The good thing about a year of freedom is that you have time to reflect on those questions and try finding your true desires. You’ll have time to make some plans, explore your own interests and decide for yourself, instead of signing up for a course in a mediocre university, questioning your decision till the end of your studies. A gap year can give you the opportunity to prioritize important components of your near future. Many students take the wrong path and end up working a job they hate because their parents were pushy or they didn’t have time to rethink their decision carefully. You won’t be one of them if you use your time wisely.

Time to explore the world through traveling

Who doesn’t like traveling?! If you have some savings or your parents are eager to invest a bit, you can spend some months abroad, collecting invaluable experience for a lifetime. You can volunteer in a project in a foreign country, or sign up for a language course abroad – the options are many, as long as you make something out of this.

You can enjoy your last moments of extra freedom with close ones

Going out with friends, meeting your relatives more often… The time is in your hands and you’re the master of it. Spending some days traveling around the country with your squad could be truly amazing, for example. You can dedicate some time to your family, too - show how much you appreciate your parents by sharing some beautiful moments with them. In recent times, we rarely have the opportunity to express appreciation as our days are going on with full speed.

You can work and save some money

Many jobs don’t require a specific qualification which is absolutely great. This allows you to work for a while and save some money for your future expenses or your desires and dreams. Having your own finances is important in case your parents don’t support you throughout the gap year. Moreover, jobs in retail and customer service give you lessons for life about people and make you appreciate more the individuals with such occupation.

You can master a new skill

The fact that you no longer attend school does not mean that you should stop learning! Read, explore, watch documentaries, observe, make the most out of your time and invest in yourself by studying. One more language or a new skill are always much appreciated by universities and future employers. The free time that this gap year gives you allows you to build new habits, learn new things and polish yourself.

Negative sides

Being lazy is just so easy

Laying all day in front of the TV, playing computer games and scrolling through your phone is just soooooo easy! If your parents support you financially, everything you have to do is just chilling, no? After all, you’ve studied so much for 12 whole years, one year of nothingness wouldn’t hurt, right? Becoming a lazy, motivationless person is just useless. If you’re not using that one year carefully you might end up losing momentum and key determination to actually end up in university.

You will never feel “ready” for university

As we mentioned in the last sentence, losing momentum is easy and with that comes even bigger uncertainty about your future decisions. If you think that one morning you’ll just suddenly wake up with an idea about the future in your head, don’t even bother, this moment will never come if you just sit over there, wondering. Don’t wait, grab the opportunity!

You’re behind your friends

You will not experience university life together with your friends. They will be already moving out, exploring a new world with new people and you might feel kind of left out of the whole picture. They will go to university parties and get excited for events that you won’t be able to share with them. It sounds a bit sad, but if your squad has decided to head to university (or even worse, to the SAME university) and you’re the only one to have a gap year you might find it difficult to communicate with them in some time.

It can be costly if your parents don’t support you

So your parents said “no” to your brilliant idea? Some adults react negatively, that’s normal, but others even refuse providing for you in that one year, which can cause some troubles. You will have to pay your own bills and buy food, which means that you must find a job. If you haven’t planned spending your one year of freedom working, then you might have to abandon the idea.

What are your concerns and stories regarding the so-called “gap year”? Tell us in the comments!

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  - Emily Brontë


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