Pros and Cons: Should You Take a Gap Year?
02 August, 2023
6 mins read
Tips and Advice
The decision to take a gap year is difficult, not to mention the planning it takes to make sure you get the most out of it. Taking a gap year can be life-changing and career-defining, but is it the right choice for you? Most students take gap years without planning it out and end up not doing much in it.
Gap years are becoming increasingly popular around the world. This is mainly due to people finally acknowledging that gap years are not something bad; in fact, a lot of people support taking this decision nowadays.
While deciding, you’ll probably hear a lot of opinions from friends, relatives, and teachers. Don’t let their opinion get to you, though! It is important that you take that decision on your own. After all, this is your future, and only you get to decide how to run it! So, in order to make it easier on you, we’ve gathered a list of gap year pros and cons for you to look at and decide what you want to do!
What is A Gap Year?
It’s a break from academic life that students usually take to reboot, clear their minds, and explore other options beyond the usual academic course. Does it need to be just one year? No! You can take more than a year's break from your academic life. These are taken before university, right after finishing high school, or sometimes during the university years themselves; it depends.
Why do people take a gap year?
Taking a gap year is like opening a secret door to a different world that people your age know nothing about, especially if you are taking a gap year to work and experience life earlier than others.
According to the Gap Year Association, “Students who have taken a gap year overwhelmingly report being satisfied with their jobs.” That’s because, generally, gap years give you time to think instead of following the expected cycle. During your gap year, you will gain experience in business/corporate life, work in a team, interact with different mentalities, and gain the level of wisdom needed to interact in the professional world. Taking a gap year will also prepare you for your future, and you will be able to reorganise your life after this year.
How to Make the Best Use Out of A Gap Year?
Some people say planning is the key to a good gap year; others say it’s all about endless experiences without setting boundaries for yourself. How do we see it? We believe having at least a general idea of what you want to get out of it will help you decide what to do. Here are some tips to help you:
Take your time
Don’t rush your decision; think it through. Sit down and get yourself a pen and paper and brainstorm all your reasons for taking a gap year and what you plan to do; this will help you make a sound decision based on facts, not the temporary emotions you’re feeling at the moment. Being rational while taking this decision is really important.
Know your options
Don’t make a life-changing decision without knowing what you are getting yourself into, or else you could find yourself lost and overwhelmed by the scenarios life throws at you. Again, a pen and paper are your friends. Make a list of all the possible scenarios you can go through.
Ask someone you trust for advice
They don’t have to be an academic professional but someone you admire and trust. Think about a role model who is wise and easy to talk to and go to that person for a chat. This will help you decide because you will be taking advice from someone you look up to and trust won’t harm you.
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Gap Year: Pros and Cons
To make the most out of anything, you need to be aware of its pros and cons, figure out whether you can handle the cons, and benefit from the pros. So, here are the gap year pros and cons presented for you to decide!
Pros of a gap year
1. Better preparation for college
Upon finishing your gap year, you will most likely find yourself excited for a learning experience like no other. You will have an immense desire to use every piece of information you study as you will be eager to learn and develop with clearer goals in mind. Taking a gap year will also make you more prepared, independent, and mature.
Think of it as a re-energising step that you take so that you can achieve your full potential when you come back! There have been many reports from different colleges that students who take gap years are more involved on campus, more energised, and usually have higher GPAs.
2. Seeing the bigger picture
Taking a gap year will broaden your horizons and help you understand the “bigger picture” of life. When you look at a situation from the outside, you can think about your options with no limitations. Seeing things from outside of a classroom can also help you learn more about yourself and realise what you actually love. A common dilemma every student faces is choosing the right major; taking a gap year will give you experience and time to think about it and make the right decision.
Being in new situations will help you explore your abilities beyond the typical student life, where grades and academic achievements measure everything. You’ll get to know your strengths and weaknesses, preferences, talents, hobbies, and maybe even your career aspirations.
You won’t just have academic skills but will also develop some really important interpersonal skills. Getting to know different personalities and cultures and handling new situations will provide skills that are not taught during school years.
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3. Financial freedom and free time
As a working student, you will feel a sense of independence and financial freedom that will keep you away from feeling trapped in school life and help you understand the value of the money you used to receive from your parents. Having your own money will make you more responsible and aware of what is happening around you.
A gap year will also give you time to focus on your mental health and spend some quality time with your friends and family without the burden of tight deadlines and overwhelming assignments.
4. Boosting your resume
Taking a gap year is a wonderful way to help you stand out from others. You will be able to experience different things from your colleagues because you have time to do them. This will also be something you talk about in interviews! You will get the chance to explain why you chose it and what you did during it.
A gap year can also boost your skills, which in turn will help you stand out from other applicants wherever you go. You will also be able to expand your network, which will make more people want you when you decide to work.
5. Avoiding burnout
Some students suffer from extreme burnout after their senior year. This is mostly because of the amount of stress they go through to achieve what they want. It’s preferable to slow down once you start feeling like that in order to be able to continue, and this is where gap years come into play.
Cons of a gap year
1. Feeling left out
When meeting with someone who didn’t take a gap year, you might feel left out as they will be talking about university life, whereas you will be living a totally different experience. Make sure to share with them what you will be learning. They can learn from you too. Don’t forget taking a gap year requires courage, strength, and maturity.
2. Overwhelming change
Spending almost all your time studying and working on school projects can make you feel like this is the only thing you can do. If you decide to take a gap year, you’ll most likely feel a big change in your duties, which will give you an overwhelming amount of emotions.
It is not easy to accept change, especially after years in school, and not knowing how to deal with all the possibilities ahead of you might be overwhelming. You might need some time to adjust to this new lifestyle.
3. Losing momentum
In most cases, the biggest concern parents and students have is losing momentum after taking a gap year. A lot worry that this could turn into more than one year and that students might not go back to college.
Now that you know the gap year pros and cons, you can finally be able to make a decision and do what makes you happy. Choose wisely, weigh your options, and talk to someone you trust. We know you’ll do what’s right, and we’re sure you’ll be able to enjoy your gap year if you decide to take one. Good luck!
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Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a gap year?
Taking a gap year gives you the opportunity to make the most of your time away from the realities of life. It’s a nice break from the things pressuring you. The problem is that some people do not like being a year behind, which can cause a problem for some people.
Do universities accept gap year students?
Universities do accept gap year students! There is this misconception that students who take a gap year end up not finding universities for them, but that’s completely not true.
What can a student do in a gap year?
There are a lot of activities to do in your gap year. These activities include getting a paid job, volunteering, or taking courses.