The Best Decision I Made Before Going To College

Location: 
Manhattan, New York
United States
US

Most students go to University the fall after graduating high school. This is the most accustomed way to go about furthering your education. When I decided to take a gap year after graduating high school, nobody really understood what that meant. I didn't just “want to take a year off from school.” I would try to explain my goals and plans that I had set for my year off, but the overwhelming reactions tended to be negative.

Breaking down the idea of a gap year is simple. Gap years are an allotted amount time one takes off from school for various personal reasons. Traveling, personal development, health, and job opportunities are just a few prime examples. To have a successful gap year, I believe that you must have some sort of end goals in mind like considering what you want to achieve or where you want to end up afterward.

I am very passionate when comes to the topic of taking a gap year. After I decided I would take a gap year, I had a lot of people telling me not to. Extended family, school counselors, and friends’ parents would try to make me explain myself while simultaneously attempting to “use their wisdom” so I would go to college that fall. Their excuses would be based solely from false statistics that state that most young adults don’t end up going to school after taking a gap year.

All the unwanted, negative feedback made me feel angry and resentful. I was taking a gap year because I didn't know what I wanted to major in, where I wanted to go to university and felt a strong desire to travel. I’m glad I had my parent’s support; it was extremely reassuring that I was doing something in my best interest. In the end, I did take that gap year and it was the best decision I could have ever made for myself. I wound up living in Australia for eight months, traveling through New Zealand, and growing personally in so many unexplainable ways.

I’m still not sure why the idea of taking a gap year tends to be so negative in America. A lot of other countries like Germany tend to have a lot of students that take gap years to travel before their time spent at university. Harvard University even offers the opportunity for deferred enrollment which was famously taken advantage by Malia Obama.

If you have ever considered a gap year, I encourage you to look into it. Every educational path is different and you never know what might come from it.