Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash

Reasons Why You Should Consider Taking a Gap Year

This past year, the White House announced Malia Obama had made the decision to take a gap year. If you google, “Malia Obama Gap Year,” you will be bombarded with hundreds of articles analyzing her decision to take the year off. Every journalist has a different opinion on her decision, ranging from completely positive to extremely critical.  Malia Obama’s gap year has started a larger conversation. As someone who has taken a gap year, I am a definite proponent for taking a year off school to intern, work, travel, or do anything else worthwhile.

However, before I start my quest to persuade you, let me be clear. I am not telling high school seniors they should take a year off to sit at home, lay on the couch, play video games and waste important time that could be spent in better ways. I am telling high school seniors to look at all their options and really do research. Opportunities are out there. If something is worthwhile, it is worth taking a year to experience it before you are consumed with education.

You are young

Right now, assuming you are between the ages of 18 and mid-20’s, you are in the prime of your life. This time is precious. It may be hard to believe, but sooner rather than later you could be married with three kids, a mini-van, an electric bill and a career. That lifestyle does not leave much room for adventure, other than the occasional family trips to Disney Land. While you are young and free you must take advantage of the opportunity to do what you want. Think about it. Right now you have the least amount of responsibility you will ever have. If you want to spend a year backpacking around Europe, there is very little holding you back from doing that. These years are fleeting. Don’t let them slip through your fingers.

Your horizons need broadened

Most of us have lived in the same town for our entire lives. We have known the same people for our entire lives. We have never been exposed to new beliefs and opinions. Taking a gap year and interning, traveling, or working somewhere else allows you to experience new people, opinions, and beliefs. When you are exposed to new things you gain new perspective, and perspective is everything. As an example, during my gap year I did an internship. I traveled all over the state of Indiana and visited some other places too. I met hundreds of new people. Each time I went to a new place or met a new person I caught a glimpse of their lives. It helped me to understand how they came to be the way they are. A gap year helps you respect people who are different from you.

It will make you stand out

Oftentimes people follow the same trajectory— high school, college, job. Taking a gap year will help you stand out from your peers. You will have valuable experience to put on your resume, and you will be more mature. You will also be more prepared for the challenges college presents you. Plus, you’ll have more to talk about during those awkward career fair conversations with recruiters.

Making money is not a bad thing

College costs money. Traveling costs money. Internships can cost money. I completely acknowledge that taking a gap year may require some form of financial assistance to which you may not have access. However, taking a gap year to work could solve this problem and help you gain real world skills that are needed to be successful. Let’s say you just graduated from high school. You want to go to college, but you don’t have enough money to manage it without going completely into debt. Get a job, take a year off, work, and then go off to school. You will learn more and mature faster than some college seniors have in four years at a university.

My gap year changed me for the better. I strongly encourage you to consider taking one too. You won’t regret it.

Annalee is a freshman at Purdue University studying Agricultural Economics.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️