When I finished high school my parents were set on me going straight to university and getting a degree. They thought that if I had a year off I wouldn’t go back. While they had good intentions, a gap year before university truly was what I needed to find myself, my passions and a career that suited me.
As we finish high school we feel so much pressure to make a decision for our future, yet we haven’t really had a chance to discovered ourselves and what we genuinely like/ dislike. Most people choose a degree because it sounds good, or their friends are doing it, which turns into an EXPENSIVE decision. Study is expensive, time consuming and stressful and you shouldn’t enrol unless you are certain you know what you want to do. A gap year can be the best way to find out what you are passionate about and what career will suit you. You may even discover that university isn’t for you and that is totally okay, University isn’t for everyone.
This blog focuses on the benefits of taking a gap year before university. I suggest doing a working holiday on your gap year, but you can do anything you want! You may also like my blog on why you should take a gap year which lists many other benefits (not related to university).
Benefits of taking a gap year before university
University is EXPENSIVE
You really want to be certain of what you want to do before you commit to a three year, $40,000+ degree.
A Gap Year helps you find yourself
Break away from your high school friends and start doing things you enjoy, find your passions and think about how you can turn that into a career. Find a career your love and you wont ever have to work a day! SERIOUSLY, find a career you love. Take the time to figure it out before you do two years of a medical degree to find out that you HATE medicine.
You can get work experience in your field before you commit to a degree
This is such a valuable thing to do. Try and get a job in the field before you commit to a degree. If you cant get a job, contact companies in your field and ask to go in and shadow someone for the day. Find out what a day in the life of a (insert your chosen profession here) look like. Say you want to be a real estate agent – what you imagine that job entails may be totally different to reality. Find out before you start studying.
You may find out that you don’t want to study at all
Great. You just saved yourself thousands of dollars. If you want to be a tradie, flight attendant, business owner etc, you may not need a degree. University isn’t for everyone and that is totally fine.
When you do study you will be committed
For me, taking time off meant that when I came back I knew I wanted to be there and was committed to the course.
If you are studying something you don’t like, you wont get good grades
If you are studying something you hate or simply don’t want to be there, you wont do well. This means your GPA will be low and this is something employers might look at. There is no way to start fresh with your GPA, it stays with you forever. If you come in and fail two semesters, you will NEVER recover. The only option will be to change universities.
You will take advantage of more opportunities
There are so many opportunities at University that students can take advantage of if they are proactive. Disengaged students miss these opportunities. After a gap year, you will want to be at University and will therefore take more advantage.
During my degree I received three scholarships, completed three amazing internships, went to study in Hawaii for a semester and was sponsored to attend the Aspiring Leaders Forum in New Zealand. This all came about from being active in the University community, reading my emails and applying for EVERYTHING.