Crossroads are critical components of life. They urge us to make crucial decisions that will no doubt affect how we continue on living. Many of us may have encountered some crossroads early on in life. One example is when we’re contemplating higher education.
The decision made about higher education typically has to do with the school. Which university or college should we attend? What are the pros and cons of attending each? For others, however, the decision precedes that. Do I attend university or take a gap year?
The Rising Popularity of Gap Years
35% of students have contemplated this question. Over 30,000 have decided to push through with it. Parental figures may find themselves wary of the concept. After all, gap years have plenty of misconceptions surrounding it.
There’s no need to fret, though. A gap year isn’t a glorified reason to skip school for a year and traipse all over the states or another country. It’s so much more than that. It can be an educational endeavor.
A Gap Year Helps in Personal Development
The Gap Year Association studies the number of people who take breaks from their studies each year. Moreover, they also collect the impact made by taking a gap year. In a recent study, over 98% of students cited that taking a gap year helped in their growth as people.
It’s understandable why, considering the many opportunities one has for self-reflection.
The Appeal of Traveling
Traveling, one of the most cited influences of taking a gap year, allows us to learn from other cultures. Domestic and international travels are of equal measure in this context. We can experience the culture of a place through sight-seeing. We can also do it by trying out their food and local entertainment.
Even souvenir shops here in Phoenix, AZ and all over the world can teach us new things. Furthermore, traveling teaches us how to interact with others. Not everyone comes from the same background, hence the need for respect and care.
Volunteering and Interning to Gain Experience
Aside from traveling, volunteering and interning are other popular reasons cited. Both options are similar to traveling in that they allow us to interact with people from different backgrounds. We can adapt and develop critical life skills when participating in either. This similarity provides the capacity for self-growth as well.
Volunteering gives us the opportunity to provide aid in different sectors of society. One example would be community service in impoverished areas. Taking the time to converse with others during this venture can lead to us learning from their life stories. Their plights can lead to self-reflection as well.
It’s likely that seeing the hardships that others went through will help us recognize our privilege. Meanwhile, interning can lead to the exploration of numerous career opportunities. Some students that intern may find that the program they signed up for in college is not for them.
This saves the students from wasting time on a program that doesn’t fit their character. Moreover, a gap year spent interning may entice students from foregoing university altogether. After all, higher education is not for everyone.
Parents shouldn’t worry when this comes to light. The experience gained from the gap year can open plenty of work opportunities for students who choose not to pursue higher education.
Regardless of chosen endeavor, everything we can absorb from these activities are things that we can apply to ourselves.