What You Need to Know About Taking a Gap Year

By Brittany Loeffler on March 1, 2018

It’s becoming more common to take a gap year either before or during college. Sometimes students just need a break from the education treadmill they are expected to run on for umpteen years. There are many reasons to take a gap year and it may not be for everyone.

A gap year looks different for everyone who takes it. How you decide to fill your time is up to you. It’s a feeling of ultimate freedom. Though it is not for everyone, if you are thinking of taking a gap year, there are some things you should know.

calendar, calendar year, gap year, school

via Pixabay

What Is a Gap Year?

A gap year is when a student decides to take a year off from going to school. Whether it is due to the stress of being in school for so long or the lust for something other than sitting in a classroom, it isn’t uncommon. It’s a year for students to figure some things out and learn a little bit about themselves. Without spending multiple hours in a classroom every day, students can indulge in what they genuinely like and try new activities.

When Should You Take a Gap Year?

There are really only two times in your life where you can take a gap year. Most students take it the year after they graduate from high school. After going to school for thirteen years, you may feel that you need a break. This is an ideal time to take one because you can figure out what exactly you’d like to study in college and which career path to go down. Too many students jump into a major and find out that they do not want to pursue that career.

The other time to take a gap year is during college. This may be after your freshman, sophomore, or even junior year. College can cause a ton of stress and sometimes students just need to take a step back and get out into the world for a little while.

What Do You Do During a Gap Year?

There are many options as to what to do during a gap year. You can choose to travel the world, volunteer, or work. The glorious thing about taking a gap year is that it is up to you as to what you do!

There are some volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps who will sponsor people and give them weekly allowances to volunteer around the country. If you are someone who is looking to do some good in the world, this is a great way to do it!

Maybe you saved up some money while working a part-time job in high school and you’re ready to see the world. It’s important to get out there and take part in different cultures. The only time to go abroad on an extended trip is during your gap year. Unless you study abroad while in college, but that’s a completely different experience.

Or maybe you just decide to stay home and work a little to save up some money. Life can be very simple when you only have to worry about going to work. You don’t have to worry about school assignments or classes. It’s a relaxing experience and allows you to save up some money for when you do go back to school.

yoga, gap year, why take a gap year, school, break

via Pixabay

Why Take a Gap Year?

There are many reasons to take a gap year. Some of the most common are to have some new experiences or take a break from the stress of school. It’s becoming more important than ever to take care of your mental health. Sometimes you just need to take a break.

Another reason is to get to know yourself a little better. You may think you know what you like and type of person you are, but you may surprise yourself. School takes up a lot of your time and doesn’t always let you enjoy certain activities. A gap year gives you the chance to do things that interest you.

What Are the Chances You’ll Go Back to School?

A common worry amongst parents of students who take a gap year is if they will go back to school. The answer, according to the American Gap Association, is that 90% of students who take a gap year go back to school within a year and graduate on time.

You May Miss Out on Experiences

Not everyone decides to take a gap year, so that means you may miss out on certain experiences. As you scroll through social media, you will see your high school friends going to college, making new friends, and experiencing something you haven’t yet. This may make you question if you made the right decision.

You have to remember that school will always be there for you to attend. Take advantage of your freedom and do what makes you happy. You’ll have the same experiences soon enough!

lazy, gap year, no excuse, break, school

via Pixabay

A Gap Year Isn’t an Excuse to Be Lazy

Some students may see a gap year as a full year of sleeping in, watching Netflix, and playing video games. While this can be super relaxing, it doesn’t mean you should spend a full year doing it.

Remember why you wanted to take a gap year. Set goals for yourself at the beginning and hold yourself accountable for accomplishing them.

Is a Gap Year Right for You?

So, is a gap year right for you? If you need a break from going to school every day and want to spend your time traveling, volunteering, working, or getting to know yourself, a gap year may be something to consider. You may find yourself missing out on some things your friends are doing, but it’s okay. You can always go back to school the next semester.

It’s important to do what is right for you.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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