Just Like The Trees, It’s Time to Branch Out of High School

The benefits of taking a gap year.


Celeste Padilla, Reporter

As seniors finish up their last year of high school, college applications are closing and decisions have to be made soon. Seniors during this time can feel overwhelmed about the direction of their future. During our whole lives, society has put immense pressure to pursue a college degree after high school. Rarely are we aware of taking a gap year after high school or throughout college and its benefits. A gap year is a year-long break taken before or after college where students experience various activities that provide knowledge. Gap years can provide insight and provide a greater opportunity to expand your knowledge outside of school.

Adults should recommend gap years and entering college after high school just as equally.

Students spend the majority of their lives enduring the toughest and most crucial stages of

adolescence in highschool. During our adolescence, everything is being established in your social life, your thought process, relationships and most importantly: the way you view yourself.  Balancing both these major concepts, while balancing school as well, according to Child’s Research Brief  can cause a delay in overall development of the adolescent relationships with others and ourselves. 

With this being said, choosing to take a gap year after high school will allow you to take a break and experience change all while finding yourself again. Change is essential for humans; it allows us to feel alive and experience growth in aspects of ourselves that were blocked. A survey conducted by The Leap revealed that gap year students are 66% more likely to take their academic work most seriously after the fact, showing that allowing yourself to have a break will benefit you in the long run. 

Gap years allow time to be alone to fully experience your personal growth towards independence. Having time to think soley of yourself and for yourself without the control of authority or outside pressures allows you to experience real life decisions, increasing your independence. The Gap Year Association survey data reveals that  81% of people who decided to take a gap year experienced an increase in maturity.  

According to a YouthTruth student survey, only 1 in 2 students feel academically prepared to go to college after high school. Students in high school learn academic skills, but lack the knowledge that prepares them for the stress of college-level classes. Students who choose to take a gap year will be able to reflect on the knowledge learned in high school classes and build off of that knowledge to prepare themselves for college classes in the future. While students reflect on their high school knowledge and their future, given a gap year, the Gap Year Association shows that 76% of students have found an increase in their self confidence. 

While entering college, students are forced to face the challenge of picking a suitable major, and are left feeling overwhelmed with trying not to make the wrong decision for their future. In a gap year, students have the time to research and experience for themselves the things that  make them happy and see a life doing to fit into a college major that will benefit their college experience positively. Gap Year Association reveals that 60% of students said a gap year helped them decide what major to study in university.

Many argue that taking a gap year can lessen your motivation to go back to school.  Although there’s a chance of a loss of motivation for school itself during a gap year, there’s a greater and more insightful chance that taking a gap year will help you experience life and what you truly think is best for you to build success within your future. Gap years provide time for challenges that will help you experience life to its fullest and help you benefit for the long run when it comes to education and your future.

A young woman crouches on a rock as she admires the view of Ella, Badulla District, Sri Lanka. (Getty Images)

If you feel lost or confused about what path you should take after highschool know that 

taking a gap year is available, and will give you time to think and sort your life out. There’s more to life than school and education, and there’s no need to rush if you aren’t sure of what to do after graduation. 

Colleges are able to provide educational knowledge, but taking a gap year can provide you with the knowledge and freedom to learn about yourself that will aid your path to growing into the person you wish to be. 

To ensure your best life and what’s best for you, follow your heart and what you truly believe is  best for you, whether it be going to college, taking a gap year, the military, or going to trade school. Each path is valid and has been able to provide success for others.

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