Why do we need a Gap year?

For most students, school is a lot about regular classes and a linear thought about time and subjects. What about after class 12th? Many students feel hesitant to take up a course straight after school when there is a paucity of time, experience, guidance and the right exposure to decide from the plenty of options. Many wish to take a gap year first to explore their interest and passion, and to be confident about the course they choose. If you feel like you lie in any of these two categories, fear not you’re not the only one.

In India, the college and course choices for the majority of students are constrained by time, societal pressures and their limited exposure to the world. They enter universities being clueless about the exact nature of their courses and their prospects. This results in students’ lack of confidence, direction, and interest in their college courses. Professors have found students to be ill-informed, distracted and less focused on their activities and efforts, especially in the initial years of college. This is quite evident from the fact that all departments in almost all the colleges witness students dropping out after/during the first year to join some other courses. Some colleges like MIT and Harvard even suggest students to take a gap year before accepting them into the cohort.

To make this informed choice, a gap year could be an ideal option. Talking about this option, gap years have been common overseas for decades, but are relatively new in India. Considered as almost a taboo for the Indian parents, the formally structured gap years can be advantageous for receiving the right exposure and making a satisfying choice.

Here are some reasons why you should absolutely consider gap years before diving into something unknown:

  1. Studies show that only 1 in 2 high school students feel ready for college. And that’s completely okay. During the gap year, you’ll not only be able to reflect on any anxiety you have about college, but you’ll also gain crucial experiences that will give a clearer understanding about the journey you’ll embark ahead.
  2. During the gap year, you can explore what you truly enjoy studying and practicing by experiencing a variety of options first hand. An informed decision to take up a particular course allows the students to maximize their inputs and work dedicatedly towards their goals. There can be nothing better than a genuine interest in the course of your choice. 
  3. When your friends would be indulging in their college studies, you can already start working on your Resume. Internships, workshops, field visits, traveling, choose anything and everything to learn more about your interests, meet new people, and gain more experience. And as they say, “Every experience makes you grow.”It will help you narrow down your choices and speciality.
  4. A gap year teaches you how to make new friends when you don’t know anyone else; how to honor your differences while recognizing similarities; and how to be confident when navigating unfamiliar territory. That’s what college is all about — embarking on a new experience that leaves you with impactful lessons while preparing you for the next phase in your life, isn’t it?
  5. If you plan your gap year wisely, you’ll likely come out standing above most other students in your course. You’ll find it easier to adapt to unfamiliar situations and will be more likely to apply your experience to assignments and exams. Once you’re aware of the prospects of your course, it would become easier to chart your career ahead.
  6. The gap year will give you a new orientation and attitude towards personal and professional life. On a personal level, an amazing year can make you realize how important self-awareness and social and cultural exposure can be. It can help you manage your life independently. While on the professional level, you’ll learn about all new skills required today. There’s a high demand for skilled workforce in the market, and thus a gap year can be beneficial in uplifting you professionally.

People argue that a gap year is a risk, but think of it more as a small investment for your future. It is better to sacrifice a little time now and figure everything out rather than pay heavily in the future for a wrong decision made under pressure. Gap year benefits everyone who makes use of it wisely.

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