Why you should take a gap year
Before we start, let's be real; you’re reading a travel blog… written by an avid traveller… who constantly discusses the greatness of travel. So if you’re here you already subconsciously know you aren’t looking for an unbiased opinion. Now although I promise to present to you the benefits that come from both experiences – whether you choose to gap year or to not gap year- I can not guarantee that you will not see a spark ignite within my writing when talking about one option above the other. Although I’m giving you cold hard facts, the bottom line is it's hard to hide passion so no judgement if you leave this blog post bag packed and ticket booked for your gap year, I take no responsibility; you have been warned.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m eating a delicious meal of any variety I tend to save the best for last so that the last taste in my mouth is of the most exquisite variety. That approach seems oddly suitable for this circumstance, so with niceties out of the way lets jump into the debate and start with the
boring, I mean responsible option first; to not gap year.
Reason's not to take a gap year
So the benefits of not taking a gap year kind of have a domino effect of each other, and it all starts with the finishing of your degree sooner. This one pretty straight forward, you don’t take a year off to see the world so you get your degree that year sooner than the pack. In theory, this looks great, you get the piece of paper before others your age and you get to venture out into the big wide world of grown up employment – which is the next benefit in our line of dominos. So, let's look at this in an ideal scenario, you swindle the job you want, which means you start to earn some legit dollars. This then leads you to financial stability; not saying that if you do take a gap year you won't find said stability, you just have to keep in mind that these goals are attainable either route you take, however refraining from a gap year takes you down these paths that margin sooner.
The biggest benefit however of not taking a gap year is that you have saved yourself from catching the ever so contagious travel bug. As sad as it is to see young people who have the means to see the world not capitalise on that, for them and for these circumstances it proves beneficial. If you don’t have the bug you don’t have the thirst for the adventure, you don’t have one foot always in the direction of your next destination and you don’t have an empty wallet every 6-12 months from your need to discover more.
Reasons to take a gap year
Now the good stuff; why you should take a gap year. For me, there is one benefit that outweighs the rest, and that’s how a gap year helps you find yourself. What a lot of people gloss over or refuse to acknowledge, is the fact that we have spent a massive chunk of our lives in schooling, in a constitution following rules that have bee laid out for us and going through the motions that society has deemed important. That’s not to say that these lessons or that schooling itself isn’t important – it is! It’s just to say that we spend so much of our time growing fitting ourselves into categories or following the motions, taking steps and making decisions based on guidelines someone else has set for us. When you take a gap year you remove yourself from this, you are no longer forced or obligated to abide by someone else’s ideals of who you should be. It’s through this that we get the opportunity to discover a great deal about ourselves. About what motivates us, about what’s important to us, and about who we are when left to our own devices.
This ideal just continues on, as you find yourself becoming a self-starter, you find yourself becoming more independent more self-reliant and less dependent on someone or something to keep you in check. Every decision you make from the conception of a gap year to its completion is solely about yourself, your needs, your wants and your experience. Which means you come back with an overwhelming understanding of yourself, with a clear head and clear direction of what you want out of life. It’s an eye-opening experience and in some ways somewhat spiritual, and unifying because no one's experience will ever be the same as your own yet you share this connection of wonder and fulfilment with others who have done the same.
Now, as much as we like to think we can defy youth and constantly maintain the excitement and energy of our young teenage selves, the truth of the matter is we will never experience the world in the kind of the way we experience it when we are in our late teens and early twenties. It's at this time that we have no obligations, that our thirst is high, our stamina is determined and our energy is never ending. Quite simply there is never a more opportune time to experience everything the world has to offer with the enthusiasm and carefree attitude that we encompass when we are in that age gap. Therefore it is a huge benefit to taking a gap year in order to take advantage and immerse yourself in this culture.
Bottom line, the advice from this bloggers
mouth mind to your ears eyes, is that everyone -no matter which road they take- should embrace the idea of a gap year. Whether it be before uni, during uni, or after. Whether it be overseas, across the country or interstate. Give yourself the opportunity to push your limits, to break out of your norm and shatter your reality. Throw yourself into the deep end and watch how easily you learn how to swim. From my experience, noones ever regretted the chances they took to evolve as an individual.
But of course the decision is yours; this is just one
Written by Ilana Porretta