Balance, Career, Down time, General, Student Life, Work

Pros and Cons of taking a gap year

I’m still deciding on what exactly it is I want to do with my life- as I’m sure most of you are as well. In high school, I knew which subjects I cared most about- but not what I was going to do with that information. I hadn’t applied to any schools, so I had a few months ahead of me to consider where I was going. I ended up taking a gap year between high school and university, during which I got some job experience and into a few random hobbies. I’ve met a few people this year who say they wish they’d taken a year off, or are considering doing so in the future. There are good things and bad things about it, and mine won’t be exactly the same as most other people’s, but I thought I’d share some of the more general things about how my time away from school was.

PRO: The obvious one- I got time to consider what I was most passionate about by looking into it recreationally. I read about 60 books that year and realized I love the way people tell stories, so English was definitely something I wanted to study.

CON: By the time the year was over I still didn’t have an exact career goal and route in mind, so I felt kind of as if I’d just wasted a whole bunch of time and I was going to be older than everyone else for no reason. I realized toward the end of the year that a lot of my friends also don’t know what they’re going to do once they graduate yet-so at least I wasn’t alone.

PRO: Hobbies!! It was nice having time after work and on weekends to get into some productive (or not so much) activities that I enjoyed. I spent a lot of time reading and writing poetry, I started going for daily walks through a nature reserve, and I adopted a pet rat- the best $20 I ever spent.

a sunset with trees silhouetted against it.

One of the pretty sights captured at the nature reserve I walk through!

PRO: Working might not seem like a fun time- and waking up every day at 6:30 am definitely wasn’t a dream come true- but having a heftier budget for the day to day was pretty great. I could afford eating out more often, and didn’t cringe when gift-giving season rolled around, I also got the chance to save up money in preparation for student loans. Working PRO #2: gaining experience to put on my resume and learning a lot about the working world at the same time has me feeling (slightly) more prepared for adulthood

CON: Once school started and all my time was eaten up by assignments and readings, I had to abandon both my job and my hobbies- leaving me broke and feeling guilty for having such an empty poetry page and Goodreads profile. You don’t know what peace is until you can’t play video games without a feeling of impending doom that procrastination summons.

PRO: I got a more thorough grasp at Adulting before I was a student again- I survived off of my own funds and was responsible for appointments and paying bills-yikes.

CON: I lost my momentum with student life. During my year off I forgot what it was like to time manage school work and prioritize assignments. It was a bit of an adjustment to get back in the groove again and I’m still getting the hang of it.

At the end of the day, I’m really glad I took that time away from school. I feel like I learned a lot about life as a functioning member of society, and got to spend some time being a person before drowning in essays and obligations. It made me appreciate the privilege of post-secondary more too, which is always a bonus.