Should you take a Gap Year?
“Decisions made in haste will be repented of in leisure.” So goes an old adage inferring that we’ll have to live with the consequences of our decisions for a long time. Some of the biggest decisions we have to make include what career to pursue and what courses to study. The problem is, these decisions come rather early in life. After high school, some young adults find themselves still unsure of which direction to take.
More and more students want to avoid paying money for programs they end up disliking or having no interest in. Some feel they’re not ready to tackle the next level of learning. Taking a gap year, or a year off between high school and college, gives you time to consider your options and to get to know yourself, without comparing your goals or abilities with your peers.
It may be true that you had your high school years to mull over your choices, but for many, those years were spent dealing with the challenges of growing up and getting through homework. On top of the confusing array of program choices, there’s the financial challenges to consider of paying for tuition and living expenses at college or university.
Experts advise having a strategic plan so that a gap year isn’t spent earning some extra spending cash and sleeping in. Wasting a year in the prime of your life is not the desired outcome of a gap year. It should be used to save up your resources, perhaps investing enough money to live independently when you do go away to school.
If you’ll be using a gap year to work full-time and save money, it’s best to secure a job before graduation, to avoid competing with hundreds of other young people looking for summer work. This will ensure you have employment lined up before you’re overtaken by the temptation to take it easy or to take the summer off. Use a secure method to save the majority of your funds, such as a tax-free savings account.
If you’ll be using a gap year to travel, instead of aimless galavanting, make plans to get involved in a variety of cultural or volunteer activities. Learning about other lands and their people adds to your knowledge and experience. A gap year should help you make sure you’re heading in the right direction, and expanding your horizons can help you accomplish this.
So, is a gap year just for indecisive youths who want a break? Not at all. Heading off to school will cost you a few grand. Taking time to grow up is priceless. Each person is different and deals with decisions in their own way. Some are decisive and confident. Others need time to think it through. If you’re among the latter, taking a gap year could be the best decision you’ll make.