A Gap Year Isn't Such a Bad Thing

Thursday, January 16

By Ariana Noghreh

Some of you may be high-schoolers, or going to college. Or, like me, you may be inbetweeners as you're in the middle of a gap year. I for one dreaded even thinking about the possibility of a gap year. I was simply too afraid. But life had its way of making things happen, and lo and behold, I'm 5 months into one and am loving it for the most part. So a gap year may not be as bad as you think it is.

Here are a few reasons why gap years are actually great:

1. You'll get to discover who you really are: A thing that most people have a problem with is that they usually don't really know who they are or what they want because they haven't had the time to think about it. A gap year is more than enough time to rediscover yourself and even improve yourself if you wish to. It's a time of self-discovery that many wish they had the opportunity to do.

2. You'll be certain about what you want to study: A lot of people go to college and regret the subject they've chosen as their major, or dislike their college. Many drop out, and others who change their majors tend to spend more money when it comes to their tuition fees. Why waste all that time, stress, and money when you can go to the college that you want, studying the subject that you want? You can do more research and be sure about your choices!

3. You can use the time as an opportunity to do all (or most) of the things you've always wanted to do: I've always wanted to learn to code, and since I had all this free time in my hands, I did just that and learned a little bit of Python. Have you had a skill you've wanted to learn? Well, here's your chance!

4. You can add to your resume: Speaking of skills to learn, why not have some of them be technical ones that could be useful on your resume? Or what about volunteering and getting internships? Not only will you be learning new things, but you might even get some extra money out of it.

5. You can prepare yourself for the adult world: There are lots of people who don't know how to cook a meal for themselves, clean, figure out the difference between a debit and credit card, or do laundry. You have one whole year to not only learn these things, but also learn countless other things!

And if you're not sure about what you could be doing in your gap year, here are a few ideas!

1. Travel: I've been back to my home country for the past 4 months and have been visiting cities I had never gone to and have learned more about my culture than my school or the internet has taught me, which is a plus. You may not want to visit cities in your own country, but you can opt to go to countries you've never been too. You could even do internships there which is hitting two targets with one arrow!

2. Read more: I've had a very long list of books I've wanted to read, but never had the time to get through all of them during school. This is where my gap year came in handy. I've read more books than I did during my last year of school.

3. Work on old habits & create new ones: Have trouble biting your nails? Well, now's the time to work on yourself. Wanted to be more fit? Well, now you can either go to specific sports classes or go to the gym more often.

4. Do things on your bucket-list: I've always wanted to go horse-riding, kayaking, and go on a road-trip with friends. And that's exactly what I did. Two close friends of mine and I made plans to do all these things (and more) in the course of two weeks. Those two weeks were the best two weeks of my life and I've never had more fun. You can too!

5. Learn a new language: Maybe you already learned a new language at school, but you can get better at it during your gap year. Or if you're planning of studying abroad, chances are that your university teaches in a language like French or German. This is the perfect time to learn those languages.

6. Do things that may give you an upper hand in college applications: Maybe you need to take the SATs or ACTs, or IELTS if your first language isn't English. You can do that now! 

I was scared of gap years because I always thought that taking one will reduce my chances of getting into the university of my dreams. But universities aren't against gap years, they are against gap years that have been wasted. So instead of just sitting at home all day and binging shows, you can add one or two productive things to your schedule and make universities fall even more in love with you! You can enjoy that one year and do things that can aid you in the applications process. It's the best of both worlds!

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