Via Unsplash.

Are Gap Years Worth Looking Into?

Many high school students take a year off before college to pursue any career paths that they’re interested in, start or continue working, travel the world, gain essential experience in the real world, and even live on their own and become more self-reliant. 

Gap years help young adults gain vital experience in the real world before going off to college, such as getting a first job or internship or even renting an apartment. They give graduates a good opportunity to travel while they’re still young. After college, they’re most likely going to join the workforce. 

By taking a year off, students can see places they might not have the time to later in life. Traveling during your gap year can also help them gain independence and teach them to be more self-reliant. It gives them time to find a career path that best suits them or even simply to give themselves a break from school. After all, they had just spent the past twelve years in school. 

Emma Bowadt, who graduated from Mountain View in 2023, took a gap year to take pressure off of her shoulders and not have to worry about applying for colleges. 

“I had an amazing time in Denmark from August to February of my “gap” year and it took the pressure off school for a while,” said Bowadt. “I got to travel and learn on my own terms for the first time in a long time.” Bowadt talked about how giving herself that time allowed her to choose the college she wanted without the added pressure. 

“[When I] got home, I got to work while going to Central Oregon Community College and really thought about my school choice. This year, being at OSU, I’ve felt so secure living away from home.” Allowing time to think about school choices will help graduates make decisions they won’t regret in the future. 

However, gap years can also provide unwelcome distance between students and their peers. Despite the positives, they cause students to fall a year behind their graduating class. This could lead to difficulty connecting with others in their grade, and eventually, social disconnect. 

Some gap year students have found that it makes getting back into the groove of studying and learning again much more challenging. It is more difficult because you are no longer in the routine of things. Taking a gap year also tends to cause students to forget what they’ve learned in their previous school years. 

Additionally, if gap year students plan on seeing the world, they often face high travel costs and other fees, especially if they do not work during the break. Living costs are already rising to begin with, which is only made worse when high travel costs come into the picture. All in all, taking a gap year depends on a student’s life trajectory.