Gap Years: To Take or Not To Take?

Article by Lauren Zhou

With high school graduation fast-approaching for the current seniors, college life seems more imminent than ever. However, it might be easy to forget about the other options that are out there, such as gap years. Although some prefer to head to college immediately after graduation, others may find a gap year an extremely productive time to gain a better sense of self, and head off more recharged than ever. There are benefits and drawbacks to taking one, so we interviewed a current ISM senior who is planning on taking a gap year.

When asked about the benefits of taking a gap year, and why they catered to her needs, senior Sophia Q. responded, “I really wanted to take [a gap year] to be able to do all the of things that I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do after college, like take up new hobbies and classes, travel elsewhere by myself and immerse myself in another culture, or work and do service work for my community. I feel like it’d be a great opportunity to develop and explore myself as an individual. And that way, when I finally go to college after a year, I’ll be more hungry and excited to learn and work harder.” She also added, “I’ve been told that lots of colleges actually encourage gap years these days, and even may pay for you to take one in one of their programs. They find that students that take gap years are more excited, committed, confident, and sure of themselves in college as freshmen.”

On the other hand, when asked about the drawbacks of taking a gap year, Sophia stated, “You might feel a little odd as you watch the rest of the people in your batch go to college without you, and later graduate ahead of you. It’s a little scary, but it’s good to remind yourself that everyone will pave their way to adulthood at their own pace, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

Taking a gap year may not be the most popular decision for graduating seniors, but is definitely an option worth considering. Hopefully with brand new insight from a current ISM senior anticipating her gap year, others may begin to feel a gap-year is a great fit for them as well.