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Take a Gap Year

Even though I’m speaking in reference to graduate school after finishing your undergraduate degree, I also believe that this concept applies to people who are finishing up high school and know they plan to go to college, but also aren’t sure whether or not they’re ready for it. For me, I’m going to finish my bachelor’s degree in about a month and I’m ready to take a break from school. I know that I want to go to grad school at some point, but now is not that time and there are various reasons for that, whether they’re personal or general. Here is why I think you should carefully think about whether or not a gap year (or a few) is right for you.

Personal relationships

This idea can apply to any relationships you may have; close friendships, a significant other, or your family. While going away to college for four years is fairly normal, grad school can be a little different. After four years away from your family and friends, it’s great to spend some time with them again. You can reconnect after the time you’ve spent apart. The same goes for your significant other. Whether they’re from your hometown or college, if you’re serious about the relationship, it’s important to take some time and evaluate your future together, whether you’ll move to the same town or city, try to go to the same grad school, get jobs near each other, or try a long distance relationship.

Time to prepare

A big positive to taking time off from more school was giving myself more time to prepare for when I decided to apply to graduate school or other programs or opportunities. I didn’t want to take time out of my senior year and stress about studying, taking tests, and filling out applications. I was able to spend time with my friends and focus on my classes, while also knowing that I will be able to focus exclusively on preparing myself for grad school once I start looking into my options after I graduate.

Work and save

Paying for grad school can be a large factor into whether or not you go. While there are ways to deal with it, such as getting a job or some scholarships, searching for these things will take time and effort. My current plan is to take time off for a while to work and save up money in order to pay off school loans and also so I can afford grad school when I decide to go.

Decide what you want

A final reason that taking time off before school can be beneficial is that you’ll be able to really think about what you want to do and make a plan for your future. Without having to constantly worry about classes, social obligations, and extracurriculars, you’ll have time to seriously examine your aspirations instead of just listening to what everyone around you is telling you to do. Maybe you’ll realize that you’d rather save up for a wedding instead of grad school, maybe you want to do both, or maybe you’re happy with the job you have now. You need to decide what your goals are and go for them!

I attend Franklin & Marshall College and am the campus correspondent of the Her Campus chapter here. I also play flute with the Pep Band and Symphonic Wind Ensemble. I am an editor for the Patsy Post, am involved with F&M Unleashed, a member of Mu Upsilon Sigma, and a Brother of Phi Sigma Pi, a co-ed honors fraternity.
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