Taking a gap year can be a BIG decision. Its a whole 365 days of your life that could change you as a person and the direction you end up going in. So, I’ve decided to do a gap year mini series over the next two weeks for anyone struggling to make up their mind. I’ll be taking you through the decision process, planning, spending your year and sharing the things I wish I’d done before making the big choice!
Lets start with the pros and cons. Even if a year out seems like a daunting prospect, its important to realise all the good things that could come out of it…
- A break from classrooms and routines. For your whole school life you’re expected to work 9am-3pm, you live your life by half terms and everything is really just one big run up to the six weeks of summer. The mentality of ‘just got to get through the next two weeks then I have a week off’ can be very damaging, especially when it becomes the norm. A gap year will allow you to escape this cycle and make your life much less mundane, and will allow you to take a break before jumping straight into another three years of intense education.
- Could benefit your mental health. Following on from my last point, the routine of education can take a tole on your mental health, and theres also the frustration of being forced to learn about things you most likely aren’t that interested in, topped off with the pressure to memorise enough of it to receive a letter on a piece of paper at the end of it all. Even if you don’t suffer with a diagnosed mental health condition, taking a break from sitting behind a desk constantly can only have positive effects on your state of mind.
- Gives you time and freedom to pursue something you’re passionate about. You could travel, start a new hobby you’ve never had time for before or explore the options in your chosen field of work. You’ll have a whole year to enrich your life in ways other than learning things from a textbook. Keep your eyes peeled for a whole post about ways to spend your gap year coming later in the series…
- Could completely change the path of your life. A good example of this is the YouTuber Luke Birch who didn’t get into university but ended up interning at Twentieth Century Fox in Los Angeles, which he could afford because he worked throughout his gap year. He’s also been invited back to intern again next summer, which just shows you how much your life can change for the better even if it doesn’t go exactly according to plan.
It is also important to consider the other ways in which it will effect your life, especially if you’re a very career driven person…
- Its another year further away from being in the job you want. If you have your heart set on a career and you want to get into your chosen industry as soon as possible, taking a gap year might actually set you back. It is, however, important to consider that most people don’t walk straight out of university into their dream job anyway, so theres no point rushing to be on the other side of a degree and £50K debt.
- It can be daunting if you have no plans. As someone in this position right now, I know more than anyone how scary it is to have a whole year in front of you with no structure and no idea how you’re going to spend it. Whilst in the abyss of the unknown, I watched a very old Jacksgap video to try and remind myself why I chose to take a gap year in the first place. Jack talked about how he felt in limbo since he had no school, no plans and no job, which I completely related to, but also talked about how he could shave his head and move to a different country without it mattering to anyone which was empowering. Since being in his own abyss, Jack has travelled the world doing something he’s truly passionate about. So yes, a year of no plans can be a big con, but it also gives you so much freedom and empowerment to take your life in whichever direction you choose.
I really hope this post helps you if you’re considering taking a gap year, be sure to stay tuned for the rest of my mini series on here and my YouTube channel if you want to see more gap year related posts! Megan x
Have any of you taken a gap year already? What are some other pros and cons you think people need to consider before taking one?