Gap year benefits self discovery, provides needed break

Eliza Schloss, co-editor-in-chief

I really should take a gap year, but I won’t.

Having endured countless years in school, the past four being the most vigorous, nothing sounds worse than going back to school next year to have to be overwhelmed with a new workload, just in a different environment.

As my high school career progressed, my energy to do homework dissipated. I started to lose interest in classes that I had once found interesting. Now, I don’t think this is a case of senioritis; my grades never  slipped from the norm and I continued to do my homework. I just couldn’t stand the school routine that I’d adopted.

When I’m bored out of my mind in class, I’m doing one of three things: playing cup pong on my phone (with myself), checking Twitter or thinking of all the places I’d rather be. School has consumed me anddefined my life for the past four years. I need a break, one longer than a weekend, a three-day weekend, spring break, and even summer. I need a gap-year.

High school helped me learn about myself. I’ve learned what kind of student, friend and leader I am. However, I don’t know what I’m capable of beyond these boundaries. I think I know what I want to do in life. I’ve never done any outside work in the field I’m interested in. I’m concerned that what I’m passionate about now and what I want to study in college, won’t live up to my high school expectations. A gap-year would give me the opportunity to try out the career I potentially want to pursue before solidifying my major plans and blowing tens of thousands of dollars.

Gap-years provide plenty of opportunities and paths. Taking a gap-year would allow me to earn some money whether it be through a job applicable to what I care to pursue or finding temporary work for the year. One of the biggest concerns for college is financing these years away. According to a study done by The Ohio State University, 70 percent  of students are concerned about paying for college. A gap-year would surely ease the financial burden.

Also, gap-years finally give the opportunity to escape the white walled classrooms and enter a boundless one. I could finally visit the places that I’ve been reading about these past four years, taking my knowledge further than the textbook. Additionally, there are plenty of gap-year programs that have planned trips all over the world. These vary in length, location and activity. There’s always the choose-your-own-adventure style but regardless, gap-year travel instills lessons such as independence that many college freshmen might lack.

Now, I’m just fooling myself. I know that despite the clear advantages, I will not take a gap year. Quite honestly, I’m too cowardly to stray from the path that’s been set: go to high school, graduate high school, go to college, graduate college. It’s all linear, but linear is normal.

I’m not afraid that I’ll fall in love with some magical island and start my own surf shop or even that I would never end up attending college; I’m afraid that I’d be some gap year oddity. I certainly don’t want to start off my freshman year as “that” student or even become “that” student to my current peers. In my heart, I know this is not reason enough to dismiss a gap-year, but I’ve been trained to follow my head so that’s what I’ll do.

I believe that a gap-year is the healthiest option for the majority of high school seniors to pursue their next year. The benefits are numerous. The most important thing is that this alternative path leads to growth that can be applied in the college setting. If you are planning to take a gap-year, mega kudos to you, and if you plan on going to grad school right after you get your undergraduate degree— good luck.