Most students, including me, have considered taking a gap year at least once. This could be for any reason, personal or professional. But what is a gap year and does it affect students?
A gap year means taking a semester or a year off school, usually, after high school to pursue a hobby, travel, gain knowledge, develop a new skill, etc. However, I must say, the effects of taking a gap year depend solely on student mindset. Taking a gap year can negatively impact students if they are not clear on what to do. There is a potential of wasting time if you don’t have any goals to accomplish in this gap year, transitioning to school can be difficult and traveling can be expensive. You might feel like you are falling behind and your peers are ahead of you. On the other hand, taking a gap year can be very beneficial if you already have a plan on how to spend this year off. Maybe you want to follow a secondary education and receive a certificate. Plenty of students decide to use this year to travel. Traveling and living in another country for a gap year can be a life-changing experience. Immersion in a new culture, learning a foreign language, and seeing the world through new eyes can lead to significant insights into your passions and goals (Mulugeta). Another focus would be volunteering. It is totally up to students how they decide to spend this year off, however, they should ask themselves, what are they trying to learn from the experience. This self-discovery, new experiences, are useful in the long run when students face the work environment. Mentioning all the skills they have developed in the resume, would make a good impression on hiring managers.
There are programs that help students on what to do during this gap year. Planning is necessary but let’s be honest, it can be a real headache. Programs such as Nols, Warriors Academy, etc can save you the headache since they have planned the activities you will partake in. Some of these programs can be pricey however, there are programs like AmeriCorps that provide students from 18-24 years old an all-expenses-paid gap year including accommodation, board, and transportation in exchange for a 10-month commitment to national and community service.
(Mulugeta).Mulugeta, Mikael. “Should You Take a Gap Year?: BestColleges.” BestColleges.com, 4 June 2020, http://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/what-is-a-gap-year/.