Gap year – good or bad?

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When you reach the end of school, you have to make that big decision; do you go straight on to college or university, or do you take a year out? There are so many different things you can do with your year out. You can work to put aside some money to pay off some of those expensive tuition fees and living costs, you can travel the world and see some of the most amazing sights, you can volunteer in various parts of the world, or you can simply take a year out to relax. There are several pros and cons to each situation – here are some to consider.

You get a break – good

You’ve been in the education system since you were 5 years old – you definitely deserve a break! Even if you just spend every day sleeping, lazing around the house and just catching up on life, you’ll definitely benefit from the lack of stress caused by deadlines, exams, revision and other school-related things. Some time out from all you’ve known for the last 13 years or so could really be quite good for you!

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You’ll break routine – bad

Sometimes, a break from a habit can make it hard for that practice to continue. If you take a year out of your routine that you’ve spent the last 13 years doing, is it going to be easy to get back into that habit after a year out? Probably not. You’ll struggle, you might feel out of place, and you will no longer be in the same year as your peers.

You can gain life experience – good

If you choose to do something amazing, like volunteering in a poverty-ridden country or just to go traveling around the world, then you can actually gain a lot of unique and exciting experience that you won’t get from college or university. You’ll meet new people, learn new languages and do new things! In fact, even if you just spend the year working, you will still learn invaluable lessons about the work place that you won’t learn at university.

You fall behind your friends – bad

While a gap year can be brilliant and give you the opportunity to have a lot of carefree fun, by the time you end up going to college or university, you’re going to find yourself set back behind your friends, and this can be a little awkward or uncomfortable. They’ll have gone on to make new friends and will be a year ahead of you, which might make you feel a little bit left out.

You might find what you really want to do – good

Sometimes a gap year allows you an extended amount of time to apply for internships and apprenticeships that will give you an insight into your potential future career. This is beneficial because you might end up changing your mind completely and selecting a different career choice, which could impact on your decision to continue with education! It’s better to find this out before you start your course rather than during so that you don’t find yourself wasting time or money.

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You might get bored – bad

A year off doing nothing – especially if all of your friends have gone on without choosing to do a gap year – can be pretty boring. There is only so much you can do before you start pining for the routine you’ve had for 13 years, and that will only be a few months down the line; you have a whole year to wait to go back to that routine.

As you can see, deciding on whether or not to have a gap year is a relatively balanced argument; there are a lot of pros but almost always a con to counteract them. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, nor one that you should let anyone else choose for you. Always do what you feel is the best decision for you.

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