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8 Reasons You Should Take a Gap Year Before Graduate School

Graduate school: 16 years of school under your belt, and now it’s time to take on four more! You’ve set your life goals and dreams, but what if there’s something missing? It’s safe to say that there’s more outside the classroom; a break might be something you need. Here are eight reasons taking a gap year before embarking on your journey to graduate school could be beneficial:


1. There’s more to learn from outside the classroom

There’s a world outside that window.

Education is a wonderful thing. But, there are also a lot of things out in the world you can’t learn in a classroom. A gap year gives you the opportunities to learn these aspects of life, whether that be through interning, traveling, volunteering or just going about life without the presence of student life. There are more places to see than a university campus. Go check out different countries, cities or even places in your local area that you couldn’t get to before. You’ll experience things in those places you can’t in a room full of desks and textbooks; you’ll actually meet people who aren’t focused on their next test or essay.


2. Meet and connect with more people

Everyone comes into our lives for a reason.

People are what make life what it is. Connections are important, especially when it involves different perspectives. You can absorb so much just by meeting someone that has a different background, goal, culture or viewpoint than yours. Meeting people in classes is always nice, but you’re likely all going for the same major — you aren’t necessarily exposed to features of life you haven’t experienced before. Using that year off of school to travel or volunteer can introduce you to cultures and stories that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter. These connections further enrich the knowledge and life you’ve established through years of education. Meeting people doesn’t only benefit you; you could impact someone’s life just the same! This can be a way for you to inform others on the things you’ve spent so much time learning.


3. Gain a greater perspective on life and self

We are where we are, and we’re doing what we’re doing.

A gap year introduces new aspects to your life; you’ll be opening your eyes to new opportunities and knowledge. Your mind will be connecting what you’ve already learned throughout your life to what you’re learning now. During your gap year, you will see so much more of what’s out there — what the world has to offer. This fresh perspective will influence your perception of self, too; it will highlight your wants, needs and goals. This can be a time of tremendous growth.


4. Motivation: now what you’re doing this for

You can do this!

This new perspective can serve as motivation to strive for your goals and tackle graduate school with all of your ambition and more. It can reassure you of the purpose behind furthering your education. A gap year can put your hard work and dreams under the spotlight; it can bring to light steps you can take to get there.


5. Independence: from the classroom and in general

You are more than the classroom.

A gap year will help utilize tools you’ve been working on for your career. School won’t be a crutch anymore, and you’ll be able to go all out. You’ll build trust and faith in yourself to take on anything you want to. Begin taking your steps out there, and leave your mark.


6. Recognize what you love and why you love it

New and old found passions are right in front of you.

This passion you’ve been working towards will become even more evident to you. Or maybe, a new passion will present itself. Either way, you’re shaping yourself to be the person you want to be. You’ll find out what’s worth your energy, and you’ll better understand what it is you want to take on the world with. This gap year allows you to take what you’ve acquired in school and apply it to the world.


7. It’s a time to think

It’s hard to think about anything other than school when it’s in session. Too many topics and deadlines are already begging for your attention. A year off creates time to devote your mind to yourself and to subjects other than your career. Imagine how your comprehension of life will be by the end.


8. Find what’s important in life

You’ll be well equipped for life after those experiences.

You get to decide what’s important in life because it’s different for everyone. With this time to think — and to experience new people, places and things— you’ll find what you consider the most important. At that point, you’ll feel so secure in yourself and your future. You’ll better grasp what you want to do and how you want to do it.


As Euripides said, “experience, travel— these are an education in themselves.” Just because you’re not in school, doesn’t mean you are not furthering your knowledge to fulfill the career and life that you desire. A gap year can be just what you need for yourself and for your future. With this, you’re set to complete whatever it is that you want. The world better watch out because you’re about to take it by storm.

Kelsey is studying Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a specific passion for Sports Communication. Catch her on campus with a coffee glued to her hand, baseball on the brain (go Cubs!), and one earbud in. If you ever want to talk about sports, music, dogs, or anything, she is always open for good conversation.
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