I made a strong decision in December of 2016 that I would undergo a gap year. I never informed my decision to anyone, not even my parents. A gap year, a year often taken between high school and college, or between the junior and senior year of college has long been a tradition in Europe and in America.
For Nepali students, taking a gap year is like a nightmare. A gap year will mean glares and unlimited questions of concern from your family members. Are they on the right track? Are they not serious about life, further study, work or anything else? These are some of the question you’ll face if you are in a gap year. I faced such situations too.
We all are aware of Malia Obama, Barak Obama’s daughter, taking a gap year before her freshman year at Harvard. Just like Malia, many students take a gap year in western countries. Most of the universities in the US suggest students to take a gap year, which can be tremendously beneficial to one’s personal growth, whether one decides on enrolling in a structured gap year program, spend time volunteering or do any activities they really want to do.
From my own gap year experience, my only suggestion is that the gap year has more to life than just a single year in time. The most powerful aspect of this process is the fact that students ideally get to fully choose, create and own their lives for good chunk of time. Here I compiled eight best reasons to take a gap year why. The suggestions are derived from my real experiences.
1. You’ll know yourself
The best part about gap year is to know about own self. You will have many choices and opportunities to know who you actually are and what your real interest is. Many young people are depressed and can’t perform well in life because they never get to know themselves and their interests.
2. You’ll do better at college/university
Researches have shown that students who are taking a gap year will perform well when they go college or university. A 2015 survey done in US over 700 former gap year participants found overwhelming personal, academic, career, and civic engagement benefits associated with taking a gap year. They have multiple abilities to tackle the problems and performed well in college activities when they attend.
3. You’ll face challenges
You will face many situations and problems during your gap year. Facing and overcoming those challenges will make you stronger. You’ll be ready to handle different situations in the future.
4. You’ll know what’s important in life
It’s sure that you will face two parts of the situation in life when you perform any work, either successful or unsuccessful. If you’ve understood the complexity and glory of life, you’ll understand best solution to the problems.
5. You’ll have time to think
Everyone needs to think before making any decisions or taking a big step. So, you will also have to think the best possible way to know what you are doing and going to do in the future. You’ll give yourself room to think and breathe more efficiently.
6. You’ll make new friends
Just imagine how cool it would be if you meet new friends from your field of interest and from a diverse background. Plus, you’ll have time to visit places, talk about life, play your favourite games and indulge in a hobby.
7. You’ll be an expert
During gap year, you’ll be forced, or rather you force yourself, to integrate into a new society, a new group of friends, and different activities. You’ll be much readier to handle it and adapt to new situations very easily.
8. You’ll pick up on things you missed
There are so many things you wished at some time but never got a chance to accomplish those wishes. You will get chances to do all kinds of things you had wished before during your gap year. A gap year is your time to refine the skills, involve in different activities and work out on your weak areas.
Saujan is currently in his gap year, and is involved with Human Computer Interaction Institution of Nepal (HCIIN) for research.