I filled out college applications during my senior year of high school like everyone else. We were expected to enroll at a college the following fall, and I planned to do just that.
It never occurred to me that there might be another option.
However, due to health reasons, I found myself taking a “gap year” the year after graduating high school.
Gap year: A one-year hiatus from academic studies to allow for nonacademic activities. – Mirriam-Webster.com
During my gap year, I ran a muffin baking business. I learned a lot that year, especially about myself, and now I’m a strong supporter of taking a gap year for the following reasons:
- Get to know yourself: Most seniors in high school don’t know what they want to do when they “grow up”, and even those that think they do will probably change their major multiple times. By taking a gap year, I spent a year narrowing down my interests so that I had a better idea of what I wanted to major in when I did go to college.
- Find a purpose: While running my business, I found that I actually wanted to go to college to acquire more business knowledge. Previously, I only wanted to attend college for the diploma, but my mindset changed when I realized how useful more knowledge would be. This realization made me want an education for myself, not simply because everyone told me I needed it.
- Figure out what you want: A gap year allowed me to look at myself to see what I wanted for my life, not what other people wanted for me. Jumping into college and debt without knowing where I wanted to go would have caused unnecessary complications.
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca
- Increase determination: When I discovered that I (not the pressure around me) wanted a college education, I had a huge drive to succeed. A gap year not only allowed me to see why I wanted the education, but also how I could use it when I graduated. I put my heart and soul into my classes and took advantage of the opportunities presented to me.
- Make money: With already-crazy tuition prices rising, it makes sense to take a year saving as much as possible to afford your education. I’ve heard that interest on loans is a killer, so the fewer loans you need to take out, the better!
Are you wondering what to do with your year off from school? Read our post on what you need to do during your gap year.
Have you taken a “gap year”? What did you do, and do you think it helped prepare you for college? Comment below!
– Sarah C.