To gap or not to gap?
Guest reporter Nikita gives three good reasons for seriously considering taking a gap year after high school.
It has taken eighteen years of slaving over homework and tests to get to this day. Exams are finished, results are out and placements have been announced. Welcome to university life. FINALLY!
However, some of you who have just read that sentence will not jump up and down in your seat with excitement. Instead you may be sitting there biting your nails fretting over the fact that despite eighteen years of your life being spent in preparation for this moment, you need more time. You are not ready yet.
And you know what? That's GREAT!
Many of us push aside such thoughts to follow the common path of life: finish high school only to start university again four months later. This is a perfectly understandable and respected decision, but so is the decision to take a gap year.
Some say that life has been planned out for us before we are born. Not the details, just the general idea. We are born, grow up, attend kindergarten, primary school, high school, university, get a job and then work until retirement.
When in this standard life plan will you get another opportunity to travel the world without anything holding you down?
During your gap year you don't need to worry about summer homework. Nor do you have to worry about how much leave you have been granted or any major family or friend obligations that you must keep.
Three good reasons to gap
During gap year you are able to fully enjoy freedom in its raw form - freedom that is going to ignite a passion within you for a life that you never knew existed. I guarantee you will be a changed person when you arrive back.
However these pros for gap year are very vague and may not appease your worries completely, therefore I have compiled a list of the top three reasons to take a gap year and what you will get out of it.
1. Understand yourself
Our social environment influences our personality, opinions and behaviour heavily. During the gap year we are able to break away from such a society and truly understand ourselves.
What do we really think about issues such as stem cell research or abortion? When we remove ourselves from our context we are able to truly understand what defines us, what makes us who we are and the way we are. It is a common thought amongst anthropologists that in order to understand one's culture we must immerse ourselves in someone else's.
For those people who are struggling to find a course that fits them, this self-realisation may just be the key to the rest of your life.
2. Learn about the world
Learn a lot about the world you live in. There are various lifestyles people follow and unusual traditions and cultures that exist in the modern world.
Your understanding of the world increases. Learning about these various lifestyles demonstrates how lucky most people in developed nations are and that we have a power to make a change in other societies for the better.
This is what inspires people's philanthropic nature. It also teaches you how to respect other cultures and religions and learn to appreciate them.
3. Independent living
Independence is what we all strive for. During the gap year you learn how to manage your money, make plans, cook your own food, go grocery shopping, wash your clothes, take care of your belongings and so on. It teaches you to be self-sufficient and responsible for what goes on in your life.
Many people also choose to take on a job whilst overseas to fund their adventures, thus learning the responsibility of funding their activities and time/money management.
A time for you
Many say that once gapped, a person doesn't want to go back to school or uni. However, this is not usually the case. Rather, the person becomes more passionate about taking the next step in their life because they know it's the right one. They truly know themselves.
The most important thing is that the gap year is a time for you. At the end of high school we are asked to choose the path in life we want to take however if we don't know ourselves well enough how can we possibly try and make this decision.
Whether your gap year is spent in Australia or overseas you will change your outlook on life. You will learn things that can never be learned in a textbook and you will have experience that will live with you forever.
I promise you, your gap year will defiantly be one of the best years of your life. And the year you get to know yourself.
So go on. Take the leap and defer a year.
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