Why I Decided On A Gap-Year After High School

It has long been debated whether taking a year off of school between high school and college is beneficial for students or not. On the one hand, the chances of remembering all the information when you finally decide to go back to school is very low. On the other, if you are one of those people who just have no clue what you want do post-high school (like me), or maybe you want to gain some work experience instead of jumping right into school, taking a year or more off is extremely beneficial.

The most common reasons to take a gap-year include:

  • Wanting a break from the day-to-day classroom environment
  • Working in order to gain experience/make money for school
  • Personal growth/discovery
  • Uncertainty of future endeavors
  • Go abroad to explore/gain experiences

In American society, it is common for students to go straight from high school to college. The society we live in forces this idea that not going to college right away means 1.) you'll never go back or 2.) you won't be successful in life, but this isn't true at all. 

Having a college degree increases your chances at landing a certain job, but it never guarantees success in life or your career field. Also, some college degrees are nearly worthless when it comes to landing a job outside of school. 

This is not to say going to college is a waste of time. Anyone who doesn't want to work at their local burger joint or mall for the rest of their lives should at least look into college and careers. Any job that pays out a larger paycheck typically requires some sort of higher education. 

(But if you LOVE your job, don't let anyone shame you into school. Do what makes you happiest!)

For me personally, I was exhausted after high school. My senior year dragged on and on for nine months, so I was extremely happy to get out. The prospect of then going to college (which I was signed up for by-the-way) and spending four or more years there without stopping just didn't sound like something I wanted to do....right away.

Also, coming out of high school, I had zero idea what I wanted to pursue career wise. I had never had a job, never really had any experience other than the classroom, so I had no clue what I liked to do career wise (or really just  in general). Sure I had some ideas spinning around my brain as graduation ended and my future began, but I could never really see myself doing any job I considered. 

Rather than wasting time and money on something I wasn't even sure about yet, I decided to just stop and take a break. I've spent the year working, learning more about what I like and don't like, and exploring my interests. As I expected, I have been feeling a pull back to school. While I'm still not sure what in the world I want to really do with my life, I'm more connected with myself as a person. I have learned what I love, what I hate, what I'm good at, what I can work on, and what makes me happy. 

As someone with many interests, finding the one that I could turn into a career was never a problem. Sticking with just one thing to study in school and follow through with into adulthood was always the challenge all throughout high school. 

I plan to either attend a community college campus or find an online one and then transfer to a four-year university in the next year, once I've figured out what I want to do. I'm looking into education, science, criminal justice, or English/writing majors as of right now, hopefully able to narrow it down very soon.

So if you're just now coming out of school, or even still there but feeling anxious and rushed to decide on a career and major for college, consider taking a gap-year to discover yourself and what you like. You may surprise yourself!

Feel free to share your school story. We can all learn from each other!

Published by Caitlyn Booth


Sep 21, 2016, 12:20:19 AM

I wish I would have looked more into taking a gap year after high school. Instead I went to college and got a degree in a field I'm not all too interested in and spent thousands of dollars on.

Sep 16, 2016, 10:29:40 PM

Hey Caityln, Great post! You listed some excellent points and what a great way to say, "It's OK to take a break!" I went straight into college after my high school graduation and I don't regret it. But that's me and of course, everyone has their own pace and own plans. If you're still undecided with you want to do in your life and what career path you want to take, college is actually the right place to explore all possibilities, such as joining clubs and exploring activities!

Reply heres...

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