Taking a gap year after graduation can either be one of the best or the worst decisions you ever make; it all depends on how wisely you use your “break”. A gap year can be your opportunity to take a breather from homework, school structure, and tests. It’s no wonder it has increased in popularity among students by 294% since 2010! However, a “gap year” does not necessarily mean you have 365 days to sit around watching Netflix and scrolling through the internet. So, if you’re wondering if a gap year is right for you we have some pro’s and con’s for you to consider on this debated topic.
- Recharge your batteries
A gap year is a way to address academic burnout and take a break from the rigorous classroom routine. Studies show that 66% of students took their academic work more seriously after their gap year, returning re-energized, with renewed focus and even greater maturity!
- Explore new opportunities
Plenty of other students decide to take a gap year to fulfill activities they don’t have time for during a regular school year. Whether that be joining an organized travel, study, work, or volunteer program, it’s key to find a productive way to spend your time out of the classroom. There’s plenty of sites that will help you find the right program such as GapYear, American Gap Association, or you can always go abroad with ISA Abroad Gap!
- Clarify your career path
Some students may still be unsure of what career path they want to pursue. A gap year is the time to figure out your options and discover what you’re truly interested in. Who knows, you could find your perfect career choice while volunteering abroad. Up to 60% of gap year participants have stated that the experience influenced or confirmed their choice of major!
- Losing momentum
Some students (and parents) may be afraid that once you’re out in the “real world” you wont want to go back to the structured school routine. Exactly one of the main reasons it is vital to think about your long-term plans when considering taking a gap year; don’t forget about college, make sure you decide on the education career path you will be pursuing later. Don’t worry too much though, statistics show 90% of students that took a gap year returned to college within the year.
- Wrong reasons
It’s completely reasonable to want to take some time off of school, but if you’re thinking that this break is to sit around and watch TV all day, then a gap year might not be for you. Not engaging in any productive activities will only hurt you in the long run; instead look up some programs to get inspired, there’s endless possibilities to choose from. Check out this amazing list of 50 gap year ideas!
There’s no doubt that a clear plan is necessary regardless of which path you decide to pursue. Don’t stress though, a gap year is not be for everyone; if your plans don’t genuinely excite you then you might want to put them off for a while until it feels right for you. If you do decide to take on a gap year then make sure you create a long-term plan and get the most out of it. Weigh out the pros and cons, discuss it with your family and decide which option feels right and suits you the best. Regardless of your decision, enjoy the journey!