Taking a Gap Year Is Advantageous

It is possible to state that the last year of school is one of the most difficult in people’s lives. Since its beginning, each pupil feels pressure from all the sides. One day, while having the family dinner, the father sets aside the newspaper and asks his child about the plans for the higher education. Every year, thousands of pupils experience something similar, and at such moment, most of them realize that their childhood has come to an end. Now and then, teachers join the parents and also start asking the questions. Then a pupil notices that classmates discuss exams, colleges, opportunities, and possible job offers. However, not all pupils are so excited about the end of the school life. In fact, many young individuals feel something like fear and uncertainty rather than excitement. Therefore, a year out can help young people in changing their lifestyles and serve as a bridge that would lead them to an adult life, so taking it is rather advantageous. 


Taking a sabbatical is a great possibility for a person in order to experience something new. High school leavers are young; in most cases, they had not had a possibility to see something different yet. It does not mean that a young individual knows for sure what he or she wants to experience, but a sabbatical will let a person learn what the world looks like. It is also clear that not all people live in big cities with endless opportunities. To the contrary, many individuals spend their lives in small towns where there are a few things to observe and things to do. Therefore, many high school leavers dream of leaving their towns because they are too tired of those places. A person may know every inch of those several streets of the town and every brick of all the buildings. As a result, this person may feel the lack of inspiration to do anything, and leaving the place at least for some time might help to solve this problem. Moreover, in a town where all people know each other, the life is usually too calm. A young person knows that wherever he or she goes, kind neighbors will report about each movement to the parents. Living under the constant watch may be rather depressing, especially for a person who just learns how to live. Besides parents who often fail to notice when their child becomes an adult, there is not much to do in towns. A person may even have no opportunity to develop the hobby that he or she wants because of being the only one who is interested in it. For example, an individual may be fond of climbing, but no local company offers the lessons. A sabbatical is also a chance to live in a different way. For example, a person may try to live without the conveniences that he or she is used to. It is clear that living in a hotel differs from living at home – a different bed, smaller fridge, little space for clothes and personal items. Such new conditions may help a person value his or her home more and learn how to adjust to the new circumstances. This new experience will be valuable to the future because “college requires similar adaptation skills, and you will be much more ready to handle it if you have already shifted societies once before”.

A sabbatical is the way for a person to feel free from different kinds of pressure and be able to behave differently. Usually a young individual is full of energy, and he or she wants more than simply follow the school-college-job pattern. The enlightenment at school lasts for more than ten years. During this time, many people become so exhausted that they have no power to proceed with their education right after finishing school. While being at school, these people experience much pressure: they had to learn much new information every day and find time to participate in the extra-curricular activities. As a result, they had little time for rest, not to mention some interests or personal life. Not making a pause may have disastrous results, “Faced with the fast pace of growing today, some students are clearly distressed, engaging in binge drinking and other self-destructive behaviors”. 

A year out makes such individuals feel as if they are unique. For some people, a sabbatical is a means to protest against the traditional education system. Firstly, many school leavers consider the system full of flaws. They think that its focus could be much wider than it is today. Many pupils also state that the knowledge that they gain at school is more theoretical, but in practice, it will not help them. Therefore, they would like to spend a year out trying to figure out how to put in practice what they have learnt. Many pupils also complain that the school education is too generalized. A study found out, “Those who delay a year before starting college have GPAs that, on a 4.0 scale, are 0.15 to 0.2 higher than otherwise would be expected”. Some pupils are dissatisfied with the fact that they have to think only about the exams; therefore, they have no time to learn the things that they are fond of. For example, there is an interesting geography lesson, but for the education system, this topic seems unimportant. Consequently, the lesson is rather short while a student wants to go deep into the subject. However, one has no opportunity to do it because he or she has to prepare for an exam in, for example, chemistry. Rather than learning what is valuable for this person, he or she has to spend much time to receive a passing grade in something that may never be helpful in life. Of course, this person thinks that, after the exam or on holiday, he or she will have time to go back and learn more about that interesting topic. In reality, it never happens because of several reasons. First, on holiday, the brain of a student needs rest. Second, during the semester, the number of such interesting postponed topics accumulates, and the student successfully forgets about most of them. Therefore, a year out will provide such people with an opportunity to remember the things that truly interested them, in order to help them figure out which major to choose. Moreover, for some individuals, a sabbatical is also a chance to learn something that they will not be able to find out in college. For many individuals, higher education also has certain flaws, and they feel that in college, they will have to learn much useless information, as well. For others, to the contrary, college is the place where they will learn only the information that is necessary to their future occupation. Consequently, for these individuals, a year out is the time to learn something more than the knowledge required to find a job. 

A gap year is advantageous because it may help people learn more about themselves. While living with parents, it is not easy to an individual to figure out what are his or her strengths and weaknesses. A school leaver probably has no idea how he or she will behave in a stressful situation. It is possible to provide two different theoretical situations to support this view. For example, a school leaver is a girl. She has been surrounded by relatives and friends for all the time. Everyone loved, supported her, and did everything possible to help if there was a problem. In such a manner, the environment was warm all the time. When she enters college that is far from her hometown, she finds herself completely alone. She meets new people, has to plan her day differently, and there is even more information to learn each day. One day, she meets a young man and falls in love with him. Then they split up, and she starts feeling even lonelier and extremely depressed. If her close ones were beside, they would comfort her. However, they are far away, living own lives while her new acquaintances are not to be trusted because she has just met them. The depression prevents her from studying, and she fails her exams. Taking a bridge year may help anyone to learn how to solve emotional problems, and it is significant both for males and females. If a similar situation had occurred during a sabbatical, this person would have learnt how to deal with it on her own, and it would not have affected the other aspects of her life. Another example: there is a boy who is used to his parents’ financial support. The boy has never had a chance to work, even part-time; therefore, his parents used to give him money. Spending money as a pupil and spending it as a college student are completely different things. The boy goes to college and has a certain sum for a month, but he has no experience in estimating his expenditures. As a result, he spends everything in two weeks and has only several dollars left. Asking parents to give him more money is wrong, and he will not dare to do it; nevertheless, he still has to find money somewhere. As a result, the boy borrows it from his roommate and has to save the next two months to give the money back – the situation is not pleasant at all. A gap year would provide him with an opportunity to develop a new habit that will be helpful in the future – to save money. Moreover, according to the study, “Former ‘gappers’ reported significantly higher motivation in college – in the form of ‘adaptive behavior’ such as planning, task management and persistence – than did students who did not take a gap year”.

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A year out can help a person realize what occupation to choose and, most significantly, it can help not make a mistake. Some individuals agree that it is too early to make this crucial choice right after finishing school. To some extent, these individuals are right. Firstly, at that age, many people are not wise enough to weigh all the pros and cons of a particular profession. Secondly, there are many cases when parents impose their opinion on their children concerning the career choice. As a result, the school leavers often choose an occupation that does not fit their interests and strong suits at all. For example, parents advise their child becoming a doctor because it is prestigious, and it is also a family tradition. While being at school, the child agrees and pays much attention to the necessary subjects. He or she seems to be rather promising as a doctor. However, this child does not really want to become one. Being a doctor is a vocation, but not just high grades or family tradition. The child’s future may be ruined simply because he or she does not have enough courage and willingness to disagree with the parents. According to the research, “About one-third of college freshmen do not return to the same institution for a second year”. Some school leavers simply have no idea about what major to choose, and their parents do not advise them anything. They may be good at several different subjects at a time, but they are not sure which path is better. Some of them feel that they need more time to learn about various professions. Others may decide that college is not for them at all because completing courses will suffice for becoming successful in the chosen field. In fact, many children face the same problem, and a gap year is the way to deal with it.  

A sabbatical can help a person become more mature and, therefore, more competitive in the future. Unlike individuals who enter the college right after school, these individuals step into the real world, which usually turns out to be more complicated than one could ever imagine. First, after a year out, their career choice will be more considered. Secondly, a gap year will teach them how to be independent, how to make choices, and how to be an adult. Those who go to college at once refuse a valuable experience. Therefore, after completing the college studies, those who took a gap year have more chances to find a good job. Firstly, they will not be so scared to go to the job interview. Secondly, they will behave in a more confident and natural way. Finally, their resume will contain the experience they had acquired in another country before college, which is already a huge advantage. According to Hodgson, “Vast quantities of work experience can be the jewel in the crown of any undergraduate CV” (n. p.). Besides, while taking a gap year, an individual gains many new traits, including the ability to be more open to people; it can also be rather helpful in the future career.

Usually people spend a year out abroad, and it may become one of the brightest moments in their lives. During this time, people can learn a new culture. The research showed, “The gap year promoted participants’ development as cosmopolitan citizens and community members, enriching their civic meaning-making”. Individuals who do not support the idea of taking a gap year can argue that the life is long, and a person can travel anytime. However, the gap year programs last for more than several months, and few people will have an opportunity to go abroad for such a long time after college. Usually, a vacation lasts for several weeks, and it is definitely not enough for learning a new culture – it will suffice only for having rest and shopping. Besides, after college, a person may have no time for traveling. Firstly, he or she will have to find a job, and it is not an easy and quick process. Secondly, this person may get married, so planning a trip will require more efforts. For many people, a sabbatical may be the only chance to see the world. 

For some students, a bridge year may be helpful in repairing relations with the parents. It is clear that not all families are perfect. More often, many families have serious problems, which are especially pressing when a child is in his or her teenage years. During this time, teenagers often do not understand that their parents want nothing but help them. As for parents, they often fail to get on the right side of their children at that time. As a result, the members of the family have to deal with the quarrels and misunderstandings all the time. In fact, children often take a sabbatical to escape serious problems and strained relations, and such decision often saves families from falling apart. During the time spent alone, a person thinks over his or her behavior, words that he or she said, attitudes and mistakes made. As one realizes how much the parents have helped him or her, this person finally begins to value them, instead of taking offense like a child. Therefore, a sabbatical is the time to reevaluate many things.   

Another advantage of taking a bridge year is the possibility to get acquainted with the new people. Some individuals may find new friends abroad while others can be even luckier and find love. In any case, the moments spent together will be exciting. The new acquaintances can help a person learn more about another culture. They can show how it is customary to spend free time and have fun in their culture. They can also advise where to buy the most delicious meal or tell about the place with a wonderful view – no travel guide can compete with the locals’ knowledge. When a sabbatical finishes, it is possible to continue the communication with the new friends, and it is especially easy today because of the Internet and various social media. Having friends abroad will increase the chances of visiting the country again, and it is possible to invite them, as well.

Some individuals argue that instead of being advantageous, a sabbatical can lead a person to no higher education. At school, people are focused on studying and these people claim that nothing should interrupt the studying process. They explain that while taking a gap year, young people relax so much that they would not like to return to the days of constant learning. Moreover, they learn how to make money, they like spending their earnings, and studying loses its value for them: why study if the job already available? To some extent, this view is right. However, such people do not consider that after a gap year, individuals are not lazy, but they know what they want. If studying is already not in their list, then it is their choice and a gap year has just let them learn it. If they had entered college, they would leave it. Sabbatical saves time, efforts and money.   

Taking a year out is advantageous because of many reasons. It is an opportunity to rest after the exhausting school years to be full of strength and new ideas in college. For some individuals, a sabbatical is the time to choose the future occupation, and these choices tend to be more long-lasting than those made right after school. For many school leavers, a gap year may be the only time they visit another country. Exciting events, new culture, and the possibility to find new friends is a pro for everyone. A bridge year is definitely worth taking because it guarantees one thing: after it, a person will become more mature and able to make own choices in life.

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