Why I'm Taking (At Least) One Gap Year

The event I both dread and look forward to is coming up sooner than we think: graduation. I’ve thought about it extensively, especially at 2 in the morning, and even had some tears in my advisor’s office. I’ve decided: I’m taking time off. Here’s why: 

  1. To make sure I know what I want to do: Grad school is a HUGE commitment, in terms of time, money, and energy. Taking some time off will allow me to have experiences that solidify what program I want to go into. 

  2. To save money: I’m lucky--I live in the suburbs. I could take a year to live at home and commute to a job in the city. Because grad school is often a “you go where you’re accepted” sort of deal, I will likely have to move away from home. This money saved will help me support that cost of living, as well as be used to put a dent in my student loans! 

  3. I don’t have time to prepare right now: Senior year is currently feeling, how the kids say, extra. I’m so busy right now that the thought of studying for the GRE makes my head want to explode, never mind trying to find schools and programs that will be the right fit! 

  4. Experience: When I eventually finish a graduate program, employers are going to be looking for experience. If I go right in, my resume will be a lot shorter! 

  5. To avoid burnout: This is probably the most important. I’m a nerd, I love school. But I’m tired. I’ve been going to school pretty much non-stop for almost two decades. I don’t even know who I am without it, at this point. I would rather take some time now, to rest up, have weekends truly off, work a regular ol’ 9-5, and avoid being miserable in a program I’m really passionate about. 

  6. Bonus: my advisor said it’s a good idea, and I trust her.