If you’re a graduating senior or even if you’re in your junior year of high school you might be starting to think about your future plans, right? Well, you should definitely be thinking about what you’re going to do after high school, but you might not be quite set on anything yet.
If you’re a graduating senior or even if you’re in your junior year of high school you might be starting to think about your future plans, right? Well, you should definitely be thinking about what you’re going to do after high school, but you might not be quite set on anything yet. If that sounds like you then that’s definitely not a problem, but you should be considering the options. While many people will talk to you about trade school, college, military service and getting a job, not as many people will talk to you about taking a gap year.
What is a Gap Year?
When we talk about a gap year we’re talking about taking a one year break between the time you graduate from high school and the time you decide what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. For some, this is a year to reflect while others use it to explore different options for their future. The idea is to make sure that you’re not jumping into anything too quickly, and to be sure that you have some time to enjoy yourself. But you can turn your gap year into something far more meaningful.
We believe that the best way to take a gap year is to take that time to give back to the community. Now, you can give back to the community that you live in, but you can also take a once-in-a-lifetime trip during your gap year, exploring an entirely new country. In this way, you’re going to have the trip of a lifetime for yourself as well as the opportunity to help others in ways that you may not be able to any other way. But is this the right decision for you?
Other Best Gap Years:
- Best Adventure Holidays for Teenagers
- Best Adventure Holidays for Solo Travelers
- Best Adventure Holidays for Seniors
- Best Holiday Adventures for Families
- Best Adventure Holidays for Couples
- Best Adventure Vacation Destinations
Is a Gap Year Right For You?
Let’s take a closer look at the good (and the not so good) of taking a gap year. You’ll probably get feedback and opinions from everyone you know, but it’s always going to be a good idea to look into things for yourself. We’re going to talk about why people love them and why they don’t, so when it comes time for you to make your decision you’re going to be ahead of the curve. From there, it’s going to be entirely up to you where to go and what to do.
Pros of a Gap Year
Try Something New – The biggest reason to take a gap year is that you’re going to have the opportunity to try things out on a trial basis. Instead of jumping right into a career that you’re going to have for the rest of your life you can try to experience a few different things and see which ones stick.
There are even programs that will let you try out different jobs for certain lengths of time so you can see what works and what doesn’t for you. Then, you get the opportunity to move on to a new job. If you love something you can pursue it further when your gap year is done. If you don’t, you can cross it off the list.
What’s really great is you can often head out to a really fun new location, so you’re not even tied to the same city or even state that you live in. You can head out to new countries and see what opportunities are available to you there.
Those who are interested in education, childcare, human rights issues, medicine or conservation will have great opportunities to explore these fields from all different parts of the world. And that means they can also take the opportunity to give back in various ways.
Pad Your Resume – There was a time when taking a gap year was viewed as a negative and potential employer didn’t want to see that you had taken time off from your studies to ‘find yourself.’ But those times have definitely changes and gap years are starting to be seen for what they really are, an opportunity to build your skills.
Employers are starting to see these years as amazing opportunities because more and more people are making the most out of them. Rather than taking a year off to just laze around and do nothing, teens are backpacking through the Alps, taking volunteer expeditions and getting real-world, internship experience. All of these things make sure that you’re a better employee when you do finally enter into the workforce or apply to college.
Taking these experiences gives you the opportunity to hone skills that you already have, to learn new languages and to simply travel to new regions and learn about entirely new cultures. All of these things are going to make a huge difference in your life going forward and they’re going to help you really see what the future can hold.
Learn Your True Path – Many people find that from the day they graduate from high school until they complete their degree they’ve changed their minds about what they want to do. For some, this means changing their major several times. For others, it means graduating with a degree they don’t really like or care about.
We also offer two-to-four-week programs on the Galapagos Islands where your child can aid in environmental conservation and do his art to boost the environment. Our programs are designed to be fun and engaging, meaning you can count on them to be a rewarding experience for your teen!
When you take a gap year you have the opportunity to explore the field that you think you want to pursue. That gives you the opportunity to really see what that field is going to have to offer and you’ll also have the ability to see if you’re going to like it. That way, when you do enter college, you’ll know what type of programs you really are interested in.
Make a Little Money – Not everyone has all the money that they need to start college when they first graduate from high school. You may have some scholarships or you may have some help from your family or a graduation party, but that might not be enough to stave off those massive student loans you may not want. Taking a year off gives you more time to save up and make money to pay for school.
You can get side jobs, random jobs or you can take on a full-time job. There are so many different opportunities and options that it’s going to be entirely up to you. And all you need to do is make sure that you put away a little bit of something as you go along. You’re going to be more than happy with the results and the fact that you can go to college with less of that debt.
Learn to Handle Yourself – When you leave high school you’re still living in somewhat of a bubble. Even if you’ve moved around a bit you have always been relatively in your comfort zone. You’ve interacted with people who are a lot like you. You’ve always had family or friends to fall back on in times of trouble and you’ve likely had a moderate amount of changes throughout your life.
When you enter college you’re going to be thrown into a mix with people who are entirely different from you in every way imaginable. These are people from all over the world and their life experiences are entirely different from yours. Taking a year off to immerse yourself in a totally new environment can help to prepare you for that.
You’ll be able to really get to know new people, learn new languages and immerse yourself in new cultures as well. And all of these things are going to make it a whole lot easier for you to experience your college years in a fun and creative way. And all it takes is exploring new places while you’re taking that gap year. If you travel to a new country you’re going to get even more of this.
Enjoy Being You – How long have you spent under the thumb of a parent or guardian? It’s been a long 18 years, right? But now you finally have freedom. Or at least, you have the opportunity to take on some freedom. You have the ability to be in control of your own life and your own career. This is the only time that you’re likely going to have this type of opportunity again, so why not take advantage of it?
During this gap year, you don’t have to worry about anyone telling you what to do or trying to make you do things that you don’t necessarily want to do. Instead, you can just sit back and enjoy doing whatever you want. It’s a time to try out new careers, explore different places and just be yourself. In fact, it’s a time to figure out just who ‘yourself’ actually is. Maybe you’re not the person that you always tried to be and that’s okay. This is a time to figure out more about who you are and who you want to be.
Cons of a Gap Year
Nobody Understands You – There are going to be a lot of people who support your decision to take a year off, but there are also going to be a lot of people who think that you’re just slacking off or being lazy. The best thing you can do is just let those people be and ignore them. This year off means that you’re going to find who you are and what you want in your life and that you’re going to learn a lot of things, but you’ll have doubters at every turn.
Try to ignore the people who want to pull you down or who want to encourage you to just stick to the ‘norm’ and go to college. Studies show that the vast majority of teens who put off college for a year will go back. And nearly every person who takes this year off feels as though they’ve become a better person because of it, so don’t let anyone try to talk you out of it.
It’s Easy to Forget Where You’re Heading – Think about what you actually want to achieve as a result of your gap year. Do you want to learn more about who you are? Are you hoping to explore new parts of the world? Do you want to learn new skills? The basic idea is that you should set some goals and understand what you hope to achieve by the end of this year.
Without having any goals or plans it’s easy to just blow through your money and wind up with nothing to show for it. That’s only going to prove all those doubters right. So, set up some goals and some plans for just what you want to get out of your gap year and then start working toward those goals for yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says.
You’ll Need Money – You could take on a freelance job while you’re working your way through that gap year. You could take on a job during school and put away the money so you can afford it later. But you’re going to need money in order to take a year off and travel. After all, travel can cost a great deal of money.
If you don’t have the money you may need to make different decisions about where you’re going and how. You might be able to get short term jobs at different locations and stay at each place a little longer. Or you might be able to find something that pays you to freelance. It’s going to be up to you, but you can absolutely find ways to counter this one too.
Overall, there are a number of reasons that you should be taking a gap year. Whether you’ve traveled before or not, there are plenty of places you should see, whether it’s Peru Cusco, Ecuador Quito, Costa Rica, Kenya Nairobi, Tanzania Arusha or Nepal Kathmandu, you’re going to learn a whole lot and you’re going to enjoy yourself immensely. Each of these places is going to make it easy for you to become everything you hoped to be through your gap year.