So, you want to take a gap year?

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Taking a gap year was never something I wanted to do between School and University but after being rejected from University, I needed a back-up plan. As soon as I left high school I just wanted to move straight away to Glasgow for University, but the universe had other plans for me. I decided to take the time out to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, save money and go travelling.

Taking time out to re-evaluate can often lead to people completely changing their mind about what they wanted to do. I know people who left school wanting to study sociology to doing a 180 and studying history instead after their gap years. In school you’re often forced to pick a career path when you barely know who you are - a gap year can help you find yourself and realise what you want to do.
One of the biggest criticisms I faced when I was taking my gap year was that my parents were scared I wouldn’t go back to education. I always knew I was determined enough to go to university for further education after my gap year, so this argument was infuriating. However, it is a big belief when taking a gap year that you will lose your academic momentum. After a year of working/travelling/having fun it would be difficult to transition back into full time education.

Gap years can be a once in a lifetime experience. When else would you get the opportunity to do something like this? More and more people are taking gap years to go travelling and immerse themselves in new cultures and experiences before taking the plunge to university.

Even if you don’t go travelling and work for a year, you can gain a lot of life experience working full time and saving money. The life experience of working or travelling can hugely benefit you for going to university and can teach you more valuable life lessons than school ever could.

If you choose to go travelling, it can be hugely expensive if you aren’t financially prepared. I personally worked full time for 6 months of my gap year to save the money to travel around Australia. There is a lot of planning and factors that need to be taken into account when doing a travelling gap year, but having plenty of money to ensure you are secure in case of emergency is a must for your own safety.

Overall, my gap year was the best decision I made as it allowed me to reflect on my interests and what I wanted to do with my life. I made some friends for life, as well as amazing memories I will cherish forever. Even the time I spent working full time, I fully enjoyed it as it was my first full time job and it taught me a lot about the work place and employment. Gap years aren’t for everyone as majority of my university friends just went straight from school to university, but it is something I recommend to everyone not sure what to do with their life.

By Siobhan MacDonald 

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