Why Take a Gap Year in College
You are a college student, looking at your time-table/class schedule, your school plan for the semester and upcoming student events and nothing feels exciting. In fact you are actually considering dropping out, but as the pride of the family that doesn’t seem right. Have you considered that maybe all you need is some time away, not forever but a small time away. You might be asking yourself, why should I take a gap year in college? The concept of taking a year before college in order to travel the world and gain personal experiences is called a Gap year. For those students fresh out of secondary school it feels like a great opportunity. What about you? You have been done with secondary school for a while and have experienced one or two years of college and everything is already getting a bit old. You need something new and exciting, something to make your life and your studies interesting again. The reason for this time off shouldn’t be to sit at home and lazy around or play video games and eat all day and be a designated couch potato. The time off should be dedicated to exploring new career paths, getting involved in new projects that excites you, traveling to new places, or engaging in goal setting and practical learning. Taking time off school can actually benefit you in a number of ways;
Higher GPA: Students who take a gap year during college come back with new zeal and strength to take on the new session. They are able to focus more in school and are more attentive owing to the fact that they see school differently and everything feels “fresh”. The year off enables them define their focus and also give them a break from the academic pressure. They return to school more motivated and confident in their interests. Such students end up doing very well in school and obtain higher grades than their peers.
Increased employability: Students who take a gap year in college and gain work experience during the time away end up with skills which makes them more employable. They gain real life experiences and are able to add this to their CV and eventually apply it when they get jobs. This gives them leverage over their peers. They also get to enjoy the practical aspect of what they are taught in school if they choose to venture into a career path related to their course of study.
It can help point you toward your future: It can be hard trying to relate the theory aspect of your course of study to a real life career and taking a gap year is a great way to experience working or volunteering in your chosen field. You get an insight into how everything works in the real world. The best part is, you may discover where your real passion lies even if it is not related to your chosen field just from taking a break from your studies. You open yourself to new possibilities.
You learn new skills: When you take a gap year in college, you get to learn new skills in a very realistic context. If you’re learning to be an actress, spending time on set even as a stage hand or part of the crew can make you pick up skills that would help kick-start your career or spending time interning at a law firm for those studying to be lawyers can help equip them with skills that would be very useful for their career in the future. There are lots of opportunities available for internships and volunteers even with the added advantage of visiting a new country or learning a new language.
You have more time to figure life out: For a lot of students that are confused on what to do with their lives, when you take a year off school, you might find the path you want your life to follow. You get to think deliberately about what experiences you would like to have and what you would gain from them. This might bring you closer to defining your interests and choosing a career path for yourself.
It teaches you responsibility: You may have learnt to get out of bed without your mum bugging you or to do your own laundry without any reminder but what about having to figure out bus schedules in new cities or talk to locals at a market in a new country, if you travel with a volunteer program during a gap year, the skills you would gain towards self-sufficiency from money management to personal safety, will continue to help you when you return home.
You don’t need to wait until you have a degree in hand to get out and explore the world, so hit the pause button and take a year off during college. Instead of setting you back, spending time away from school will push you forward and give you insights about yourself and the world. In the end, taking time away from school won’t put you behind your peers, in most cases, it’ll put you farther ahead, giving you an advantage in the classroom, the professional world and beyond.
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