Take a gap year after graduating, it’s more beneficial than you think

Tori Scala, Staff Writer

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my college experience has not been what I anticipated. I thought I would be currently studying abroad, but instead, I am writing this article in my Burlington apartment. 

Ever since I was 12 years old I have seen myself studying abroad in college and living out my European dreams. I had the whole thing planned to a T, and then the pandemic started… ruining my plans big time. 

Since life has changed due to COVID, I have decided to take a gap year once I graduate to compensate for the lost experiences I would have had if things stayed the same. 

I acknowledge that I am very grateful to be able to take a gap year. I know not everyone is not in the financial situation to be able to take time off. 

I do want to set the record straight on one misconception some people have had when I mention I am taking a gap year. This is very much a self directed gap year. I am paying and planning every part of this process, and I am proud to say this. 

So here’s the thing… some people assume gap years are not constructive and a waste of time, and I want to explain why I believe gap years are beneficial. 

An overarching idea I have realized over the past year is that you do not have to rush through each stage of life like it is a race. In the past, I have felt the need to have everything in my future meticulously planned, and that is simply not the case. 

For some, planning gives them comfort in not having to fear the unknown, but I am craving this feeling. I want to take a gap year to truly find what it is I enjoy in life. 

This gap year is extremely important to me because I will be experiencing new things, meeting new people, and living somewhere out of my comfort zone. This will ultimately build my character and make me a more well rounded person who is ready to enter the workforce. 

Once my gap year is complete I will find a job and go on to accomplish my career goals that I have set for myself. But in the meantime, I cannot wait to travel and pick up hobbies I would have never been exposed to if I stayed in my comfort zone around the same people in the same place. 

If taking a full year off to travel sounds daunting, there are other options too. You could always find a local organization to volunteer for, join the peace corps, or travel and work odd jobs here and there for a period of time. 

Basically, my message to everyone reading this is that gap years can be extremely beneficial to those who need to be pushed out of their comfort zones. 

Experiencing new things and learning outside of a classroom is what certain employers look for. Even if you aren’t traveling and are just trying something new, a gap year can provide you with these experiences that build character. 

I encourage you all to consider taking a gap year, no matter how gap year may look for you. In the end, it isn’t where you spend your gap year but how you spend your time during your gap year that counts. 

In the meantime, I will be picking up many unwanted shifts to fund my dream of living abroad after I graduate.