The Next Step: College or Gap Year
As the senior year of high school begins, many students are already considering the end. This final year of school for many is not just homecoming dances, clubs, and sporting events, but FASFA, essays, and deadlines; not to mention grades, testing, and more testing. It seems that a year that should be filled with excitement, enjoying the many final moments with friends you’ve made along the way, and basking in the power of the upperclassman status, is marred by stress and endless questions. Recently, a student said to me, “If one more person asks me where I’m going to college…”
Enter the Gap Year. For decades, this was frowned upon. Now it is in fashion and a popular response to THE question, but it is a small chunk of time that can have far reaching pros and cons, and something not to be considered lightly. The gap year, does not benefit every student.
For some, this free time is detrimental and can spawn apathy towards school and the whole academic experience. Many students find work making money that simply lines their pockets, while continuing to live at home. The façade of “easy living” can blur a young mind and promote entitlement.
For others, it is seen as a gift of time; time to understand the magnitude of the decision that needs to be made and to choose wisely. This time frame is typically filled with working and saving money. The financial aid process can be explored more diligently and the choice of which college to attend can be considered wholeheartedly.
Whichever pathway a student takes, it is important for the student to remember that there’s only one senior year and it should be experienced to the fullest and that may have different meanings to different students. “Beginning with the end in mind,” while words of wisdom, must be tempered with fun and spending time just being a kid If at all possible. Adulthood and major decisions are coming down the pike soon enough.