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Should students take a gap year?

March 3, 2016

It can better prepare you

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It can better prepare you

Ten months of school, two month break, repeat. Study, stress, test, repeat. ACT, SAT, AP’s, finals, repeat. This cycle continues whether one likes it or not, for twelve monotonous years. The early mornings, the late nights doing work, and a seven hour school day in between is tiring, and seemingly never ending.

Taking a year off following graduation from high school is recommended by many, mainly as a way for students to then enter college with a clear mind with fresh inspiration from their gap year. Taking a gap year is arguably a better option than jumping right into another education cycle. A large sum of students, whether at an Ivy League or a mediocre school, have no idea what they want to do with their lives. Jumping from one school to the next surely won’t help in that process. By entering the “real world” for a year, seeing how other people live, and garnering experiences and ideas from around the world,  students’ goals can be put into perspective.

The main issue that people find when looking to take a gap year is cost. Though the wealthy may spend their gap years traveling the world and staying in 5-star hotels, the majority of the student population are not as fortunate. Instead, there are work programs throughout the world, where people work from place to place, country to country, earning money while experiencing the cultures of each country visited.

Working as an assistant in a preparatory school is offered by “LetzLive”, a website dedicated to getting students jobs during their gap years. Students work during the week, and are given time on the weekend to explore.  Where many will say that one could simply work at home, this does not really offer perspective or give an extraordinary opportunity like working abroad. Working abroad allows for students to make money that can be saved for their future college experience, while creating a unique experience apart from their fellow peers. Senior Thomasin Wadsworth is contemplating taking a gap year, herself.

Thomasin has friends and family within different countries across Europe, which helps with her accommodation if she chooses to take the gap year.

Thomasin said, “I may take a year to work in a chalet in France, and possibly England as well.”

Where cost is seen as an issue for many, another concern is that those who go away will not want to go back to school. This problem is acknowledged by popular college website, College Confidential. The website actually states that the “break from academics” will allow students to go back to school with “renewed vigor and focus”, and even maturity. College Confidential also states that when looking into jobs later on in life, a year abroad, working to pay for one’s tuition, shows character and good work ethic.

Deferring enrollment from college should be considered by all high school seniors in the coming months. They have worked relentlessly for years and deserve a break that, in a way, prepares them even more than college right after graduation.

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    School comes first

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    School comes first

    Drawings by Jackson Gilvar

    Drawings by Jackson Gilvar

    Drawings by Jackson Gilvar

    Most seniors can not wait to get out of school and be free, meanwhile others want to go straight to college. While gap years increase self-awareness and can help students transition to college, they are not necessary and can negatively impact students.

    Gap years are a risky gamble to take for many students because they lose their academic edge that they have worked so hard to acquire in high school. Coming back to school a better overall person is definitely a positive, but students lose a lot of basic knowledge and awareness of school culture that they have lived with for twelve years.

    If people do not get organized during the gap year, it can be to a student’s disadvantage. When students take a gap year, it is usually because they have a have personal or professional motivation. Students have to apply to colleges in order to get back in school, and they are vying to fill spots vacated by transfer students, a number much smaller than a freshman class. Students often will lose the momentum of writing an essay or even something as simple as the knowledge the student has learned throughout the academic course of the years.

    Additionally, being a year behind everyone can be tough on some students. Their social life could be negatively impacted while their friends depart to college for a new adventure, and they have not filled that void with new college friends.It is difficult to break into friend groups that have already formed after the first year of college. If a student went straight to college, they essentially maintain the same lifestyle in regards to finance.

    Another negative is that the amount of time planning and organizing trips abroad could be spent in an academic situation. Students that use “getting away from home to find a new perspective” as an excuse to take a gap year may not be telling the whole side of the story, as college provides plenty of experience and students can travel abroad during a semester in college.

    Also, the students might not want to go back to the stressful school life after taking the year off, and that can put your education and future in jeopardy. Students can become used to the traveller “lifestyle” and may not emphasize a college education and a well-paying job. It can be a huge shock trying to adjust to the new way of life too.

    Instead of rushing into the adult world, you could take it slower and easier at college where you are still a student and have to strive to succeed at school, but do not have to worry about financial independence. As you can see, taking a gap year is a risk that is not worth taken.

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