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To Take a Gap Year or To Not Take a Gap Year, That is the Question

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Brace yourself, this post contains a lot of jargon that could perhaps cause unnecessary stress in your mind.

Since I am in my senior year at St. Bonaventure, the future is fast approaching. 

I am a double major in journalism and political science and it was not until my sophomore year of college when one of my advisers looked at me and said, “You realize that you are on the pre-law track, right?” 

I then noticed that I have always had an interest in the philosophical happenings of things and the political processes that are taking place. 

So, for the past two years, I have been saying that I plan on applying to law school. The key word here is “plan.”

The commitment to law school is a great one. I know this from stories, movies, and even attempting to study for the LSAT. My internal monologue has consisted of the motivation that reaffirms to me that I can always change my mind and that registering and taking the LSATs and applying to law school is relatively cheaper than paying for the actual school. 

This is my time to decide if I would like to pursue this career path and test the waters before it becomes too expensive I feel the pressure of having to continue this course of profession because of the pressure of loans and money spent. I wish that it could be different, but if I decide to go to law school, I will be finishing the degree come hell or high water because, with that money owed, I would be in both hell and high water. 

That is the one thing that everyone says, that if you do go to law school, you will be able to make the money back. I believe it, but what if law school is not what I love doing and I cannot reroute my path because of the pressure I feel to complete the schooling? 

This wondering keeps me awake at night. 

I know that I have creative ideas and business ventures that I want to pursue in life, but what if law school just makes that all fuzzier? 

I have the scary gut intuition that the right decision would never make me second guess. 

But how should I know, I am 21 years old and about to enter a world of jobs and opportunities. 

Now, things are real. There is no more saying that my plan is to apply, I am applying. 

I am still telling myself that this is all cheaper than actually taking out loans to go to school, but it still feels pressure-filled. 

This leads me to an option that has been at the forefront of my mind for some time now, taking a gap year. 

I had never thought of this option before because of one big issue that I know to be true about myself. I just want to work. 

I want to work and make money and I worry that if I took a gap year, I would never go back to something that could have really been an amazing career for me. 

I still have yet to do some research into how long my application would stand at certain colleges, but despite the fact that I want to work, I think a confirmation that I would go back in a year and not have to take another LSAT or get application materials together would be enough to make me go back. That would be the ticket. 

And that is the other pressing dilemma in this equation. I do not want to have the pressure of eventually applying or studying constantly for LSATs for another year. 

It has all become too pressure-filled and it leads me to not even want to enter this profession in the first place. 

That is another point, I want to help people someday, but it is so expensive to even get involved in the degree required to do that. 

An LSAT costs around $240, the CAS application requirement costs $45, and any LSAT course worth taking costs at least $100. I do not even want to continue listing the amount of money I have paid (out of my own pocket) to even find out if I can do what would need to be required of me for law school, and I am still unsure. 

And will I ever be sure? I do not know, but the idea of being able to gather my thoughts for some time in between school sounds really appealing as of now, no matter what my future may be. 

That is possible because I am exhausted from the upkeep of studying, and it is not like the workload will go away when I am in law school, but why do I feel like the entrance requirements are made so much more difficult than the actual criteria that will be covered if I do proceed with this. 

There is much to think about here, and I apologize if I have passed off some of my stress to you while you read this. I am sweating just writing this myself. 

I really wonder what would happen if I just let myself feel everything out as it comes, gap year, no gap year, where I get in or not. 

I still have some figuring out to do, but it felt good to voice these concerns even if there is the slight chance that someone out there is going through the same thing, or at least to express to others the pitfalls and peaks of breaks in academics and what that means for the mind. 

And in all reality, is this just a way to cope with the easier years of my life being over upon graduation?

There is a lot here, I thank you for making it this far.

Howdy babes, my name is Hadley Thompson and I am super happy to be here. I am from Niagara Falls, NY, and am ready to move where the Buffalo winters aren't so strong, brrrrr. I am a senior political science and journalism double major at St. Bonaventure University. I still remember my first semester writing for HC, I was the only new inductee at our annual interest meeting! It is so awesome to have witnessed this group of insightful and wonderful minds grow throughout the years. As I finish up my time here at Bonas, I hope to combine all of my hobbies and interests as I step into this next chapter of my life. Because I love things like reading, studying politics, environmental studies, chatting it up, writing, and such, I am applying to law school, eek! I will have to keep you updated. I am super excited for this semester amidst all of the changes, senior feelings, and, of course, to be a part of HC @ SBU! :)