Preparing for your graduation day is always an exciting time. As you order your cap and own and choose a memorable quote to be published beside your yearbook picture, you may also find yourself wondering what life will be like after high school.
Perhaps you’ve already picked out a few colleges that you’d like to attend. You may even have a pretty good idea about what you want to study. However, if you’re feeling exhausted from pulling all-nighters just to study for an exam or complete the last batch of your homework assignments, you may want to consider taking a gap year before diving into college coursework.
What is a gap year?
When you choose to take a gap year, you’re essentially giving yourself a year or semester off before entering into college. You can use this time to earn extra cash for tuition payments, participate in study abroad programs or internships, and even volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about. Aside from helping you feel more prepared for college, a gap year is also useful for gaining valuable life skills and experiences.
Many high school and college students take a shorter gap year alternative during the summer – think of it as a gap summer – that tends to save them money and also avoid the classroom time lost when taking a full gap year.
How can I benefit from taking a gap year?
If you’re feeling burned out from coursework and want to break free from the classroom for a while, then a gap year could be just what you need. In addition to refreshing your mind, a gap year can help you determine what direction you want to take in life. As you explore different opportunities and expose yourself to the outside world, you’ll learn more about yourself and discover what field sparks your interest for future studies.
How can I make the most of my gap year?
There are many different ways to use your gap year wisely. If you’re a giving person that loves to help others in need, you can serve as an active volunteer in your community. Another great way to spend this time off would be to apply for an internship in a field of your choice. You’ll get to experience what it feels like to be in the working world firsthand, and you’ll gain valuable skills that can be applied in your daily life.
Finally, if you’re more of an adventurous type, you may want to try learning a new language through a study-abroad program.
Contributed by Nedda Grady