Life

Why Taking a Gap Year Can Be the Best Thing for You

As you consider your options, let’s explore why taking a gap year can be the best thing for you.

What is a gap year? Typically it’s a year-long break between high school and college for the benefit of rejuvenation and intentional growth opportunities. There’s even a Gap Year Association, which helps students find the mental, spiritual, physical, and educational benefits of taking a year off between schools.

Gap Year Benefits

Senioritis is real and affects thousands of students finishing up high school. You’re burned out and need a break. Many students are ready for the next adventure and have an “anywhere but here” outlook on what the future holds. 

As you consider your options, let’s explore why taking a gap year can be the best thing for you. Instead of sitting in a classroom, you can learn more about yourself, your community, and the world-at-large in a gap year.

Develop New Skills

One such benefit of taking a gap year is developing new skills for yourself. Whether these are personal or professional skills is determined by you.

This skill can be one you already have and would like to develop, such as a hobby like photography or dance. Or you can develop a new-to-you skill such as learning a new language or playing an instrument.  

The possibilities are as endless as your desire to learn. 

To put your new skill into practice, consider volunteering in your community or getting an internship. You can also join local groups to network with like-minded learners as you continue to develop your new skill.

Traveling During a Gap Year

A fantastic way to spend your gap year is by traveling and seeing the world.

Whether you pack up your car and hit the road for a cross-country trip or travel internationally, there is so much to see and experience before you head to college. And the next time you find yourself in a classroom learning about world history or foreign affairs, you may have some context to go along with the lesson.

As you consider places to travel during your gap year, there’s a lot to be said for international destinations. Whether you visit Ireland, Costa Rica, or New Zealand you are sure to learn new cultures and experience amazing adventures.

Gap Year Self-Care

Sometimes a gap year is needed simply for self-care. Everybody needs time for rest and rejuvenation after a stressful end of high school.

By taking a gap year to focus on self-care, you can relieve stress and pressure of what the future may hold by simply focusing on the here and now. Let your body and mind recover by taking a year off and focusing on yourself. 

Who knows what may happen when you give yourself time to rediscover what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and (probably most important) what you don’t enjoy. You can focus on the relationships that bring you joy and determine what you want your life to look like.

If not now, when?

Mental Health

Taking time off is beneficial for everybody. Nobody is expected to work 365 days a year, 24/7 hours of the day. When you take a gap year, there are several mental health benefits that your future self will thank you for one day.

Gap year mental health benefits include:

  • Reducing stress – without the pressure of paper deadlines and exams, your mental health will vastly improve outside the classroom setting.
  • Preparing for your future – as you learn what you like and don’t like, you can better prepare for what career you would like to pursue and dreams you want to chase.
  • Learning more – there are a whole lot of lessons to learn outside of the classroom. Whether you are learning about yourself or the world around you, taking a gap year can give you the space and time you need to process these learnings.

Conclusion

A gap year technically doesn’t have to be a full year. You can decide to take a gap semester and start college in six months. Or, you may have a lot of plans and need to take an 18-month period of time before college. 

No matter how long your gap year lasts, taking one may be the best thing for you.

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