Weighing the pros and cons of taking a gap year is an important part of choosing whether or not you want to go for this option. A lot of students, especially those who have plans to study internationally, decide to take a year off between high school and college to pursue growth through experience, work on their interests, or just simply rest and relax.
Of course, taking a gap year is not all rainbows and butterflies, either. There are valid reasons why one might warn you to be careful about doing it.
For this reason, we have decided to write this blog article and give you a comprehensive list of what we consider to be the pros and cons of taking a gap year.
Whether you are taking a gap year fresh out of high school or between years of university, there is no denying that most people who do it could certainly use some rest! Academics can be stressful and demanding. Burnout is a big issue among diligent students, after all. A well-planned gap year can relieve some of that pressure and create a period where you can refresh yourself and recuperate. This can have the added benefit of you being more ready for college when it eventually does come around.
This is especially a problem for the competitive amongst you. Of course, everyone has their own timeline regarding when they hit certain milestones in life, and that is okay. However, for students looking to get out of schooling as quickly as humanly possible and overtake their peers in the professional field, taking a gap year might not be the best option. Seeing your old friends graduate while you still have that one year left can be difficult, so be warned, but know that it is not the end of the world.
Among the pros and cons of taking a gap year, this is one that can have a profound impact on your life. While we are stuck on the treadmill of studying, making friends, and just overall trying to live our lives, it can be difficult to find the time to do some much-needed soul-searching and see what we truly want to do with our lives. By taking some time off, we allow room for our thoughts and feelings to resolve themselves and crystalize into a clear goal, both academically and professionally.
Although this is very rare, it could very well happen that your gap year does not go the way you hoped it would at all. At the end of it, there has been the occasional person who reports feeling as stressed as they ever did, with no clearer vision of how they should go about their future life. In order to avoid this, it is important to know how to spend your gap year, which we will cover in a later section.
Next in the pros and cons of taking a gap year, we have a pro that is quite useful. A gap year allows you the opportunity to refine some skills outside of the context of formal education. Too often we get stuck in tunneling into a specific niche and neglect important life and professional skills. Well, taking a gap year allows us to remedy this by giving us the space to explore precisely this. You can gain important soft skills for your future career as well as life skills like cooking to help you in your studies abroad.
One of the good things about going into university immediately after finishing high school is that you do not use any momentum. You are already in school mode, so to speak, so it is not a huge psychological effort to get started in college. Conversely, if you take a gap year, you might become accustomed to being outside of school. Understandably, this might lead to a little bit of difficulty readjusting to academic life, so keep this in mind when deciding whether to take a gap year or not.
We cannot write a list of the pros and cons of taking a gap year without mentioning travelling. Of course, for those of you planning to study abroad, this might not seem to be super special. However, a gap year allows you to travel to other places irrespective of your studies. Perhaps you have always wanted to see a particular place or go somewhere with a particular person. Not only that, but many young people opt for work and travel programs during this time, allowing them to earn some extra money.
Short trips can be rather expensive. Even if we are talking about a work and travel program, it can cost a pretty penny to make the travel arrangements and actually get to your location. People fresh out of high school are not always in the best financial standing and some might feel it is unfair to ask your parents to essentially support you while you put your life on a meaningful pause. However, a way to remedy this would be to find a temporary source of income that can hold you over until college.
While rest and relaxation are among the pros and cons of taking a gap year, we do not recommend spending all of your time just lying around. Taking the chance to work and gain valuable experience is an incredible way to spend some of the time of your gap year. What is more, it will help resolve many of the money issues that can arise, especially since your living expenses will typically be less during this time as opposed to adulthood. This can also help with remedying the feeling that you are wasting your time.
Although this is not a likely outcome, many young people feel that gap years stress them out even more than simply moving on to university. This is because it takes careful planning to make good use of your gap year, and all of that can put a lot of pressure on one’s mind. Meanwhile, if you simply take the already well-travelled path of going to university after high school, you have a lot of your life already figured out for you, ironically causing you less stress.
After looking at our list of the pros and cons of taking a gap year, you are no doubt closer to making a decision about whether or not it is something you want to pursue. Below you will find some useful tips for making the most of your gap year and making sure that you avoid the cons we have mentioned:
Keeping these tips in mind and using your common sense, you should be able to make your gap year an overall positive and fruitful experience.
That is all from us on this topic. For more information regarding studying abroad and student life in general, check out our blog for some incredible topics!
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