Let’s face it: Any form of change is scary. There is a fear of the unknown before you even begin your first year in college. Though this experience should be exciting, it does nothing but bring you dread. You start doubting everything you’ve ever known. Is college for you? Are you ready? Is this the right choice?
Questions like these are perfectly normal. Others choose to enter college right away. Others want to defer their admission by a year. This time is used to relax, learn more about themselves, learn about other cultures, or earn extra income.
Students on a gap year can choose to join gap year programs or find internships by themselves.
The Perks of Taking a Gap Year
The stress of finishing high school and the pressure of attending college can sometimes push students to take a gap year. Besides the obvious benefit of giving students a break after high school, gap years can be a real asset when it comes to mental health.
According to a survey conducted by the Gap Year Association Organization, 77% of 558 people agreed that taking a gap year helped them find purpose in life. 98% says it helped them develop as a person, and another 98% also says the gap year gave them the time for personal reflection.
A Stronger Sense of Identity
Students fresh out of high school rarely have a clear idea of who they are and what they want to be. Taking some time off before stepping into another considerable milestone of their life helps them look back and reflect on what they have learned so far. With this, they’re given the confidence to enter college.
According to the research, taking a gap year greatly helped students develop a stronger sense of identity. Exposure to new people, ideas, and activities help students gain a better understanding of their intrinsic motivations. This experience helps them build their interests and core values.
A Boost in Motivation
Taking a break allows students to recharge mentally before taking on this new challenge known as college. Students who have taken a gap year have shown renewed enthusiasm for their passions once they finally entered college.
Additionally, research shows that the students who have taken gap years generally attained a higher GPA than those who haven’t. Beyond just an advantage of a high GPA, gap years have taught students, resilience, flexibility, independence, and coping skills, all qualities of a strong mental health outlook.
For many high school students, their perspective is shaped by a small world: their families, local community, and school experiences. A gap year can help them grow out of this and experience the world.
Through gap year activities, graduates begin to understand the world at large. Even having a part-time job teaches you that your actions have an impact. You begin to focus less on yourself as an individual and notice more on how your actions affect others.
On the other hand, students who travel see the world. You’ll experience customs or practices so far removed from what you are accustomed to that it could change you. Students stepping out of their comfort zones are exposed to new viewpoints and ideas that could be beneficial to them.