Gap years stimulate inspiration


Gap years can provide students with a temporary sanctuary from formal education and should be a more popular alternative to jumping into undergraduate education.
Students are increasingly choosing to steer away from the norm of going to college immediately after high school. Take a year off in order to experience life abroad, work and pursue non-academic passions.
The benefits of taking a gap in the educational track of students are overwhelming, and more students are picking up on them and taking advantage of the opportunity.
According to the American Gap Association, some of the benefits include increased maturity, greater “ownership” over the student’s future education, increased self-awareness, greater global awareness, fluency in a foreign language, and of course the self-confidence students can gain by completing a gap year.
Many students take advantage of their year off by living overseas. In the past, ETHS students have headed to Paris, Ecuador, and Germany, to name a few. Some students go through gap year programs such as Global Citizen Year, which took three students to Ecuador last year. Others choose to design their own gap years, as in the case of Briana Bergeron, senior, who plans on spending time in Oregon, California, Ireland and Greece to pursure farming.
Others spend the year working and living at home in order to save up money or reevaluate college plans.
In any case, gap years bring with them the unknown because students cannot know exactly what to expect from their year abroad, but new experiences are always a given for those taking a gap year.
Some critics believe that gap years are a year off for those who don’t know what they are doing with their lives, but this is hardly the case. The year is a chance to step back, gain some experience, and prepare for adulthood.
Before jumping into another four consecutive years of expensive formal education, it is important for students to have a good notion of what they wish to study.
Gap years offer students more time to discover what they wish to study in college and pursue as a profession later on in life.
Students often go into college with an undecided major, and gap years can help minimize the indecision because students will have had more experiences and time to think about what they want to study after taking a year away from academia.
Taking a breath from the intensity of the high-powered academic track provides students with a chance to compose themselves and reevaluate college and professional plans.