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During the years of high school, there is a lot of pressure to excel, that grows exponentially senior year. The pressure to do well is immense, all for the purpose of having stellar grades to apply to any college to have the career you want. But what if you don't know for sure what degree or career you want? Teachers, parents, guidance counselors, and more don't allow for much time to figure out the future when they have you planning for it. When planning one's future, it is advisable to take a gap year where a high school graduate takes a year long break from academics to explore, learn themselves, and travel. Taking a gap year can be highly beneficial to future academics in the long run, and is a great time to travel to see what the world has to offer before getting back to their studies.
What is a Gap Year?
To some, a gap year is a senseless excuse for a high school graduate to slack on furthering their education; when in actuality, a gap year can be just as important as where a person decides to go to college. According to the Gap Year Association (2019), a gap year is a year for experiential learning before starting a new job, career, or pursuing a college degree in order to have a better sense of who they are as a person securing their certainty in the profession they want to pursue. Taking a gap year can provide clarity on how a person can be practical in their choice of what degree would best benefit them in pursuing a career that coincides with their likes and strengths.
The Benefits of Traveling for your Gap Year
For a high school student to take a gap year, there are many choices of what to do during their year off that generates benefits personally, and academically. It has been confirmed by the Gap Year Association (2019), that those that take a gap year return to furthering their education with a better sense of what they want to study, have gained life experience, and have a high probability of having a higher GPA than those that did not take a gap year. It can be theorized that since some opt to take a gap year to travel, this newfound sense of purpose can stem from gaining a new perspective on life after spending a year traveling. A gap year is the best time to travel the country, or the world, enjoying freedom from school while, for a period of time, learning skills that will benefit them later after completing their college education. Gap years spent traveling teaches life skills, new languages and cultures, and improves communication skills in regards to adjusting to social situations where culture and varying social norms dictate proper social etiquette (Gap Year, 2019). Majority of the time, these new skills all are learned without a person realizing it until after returning home feeling like a new person.
Traveling for your Gap Year
Traveling for their gap year can be a great experience, exposing a high school graduate to various cultures and languages while giving them the chance to do good. Without the proper finances, taking a gap year to travel may seem impossible. At some point, anyone who travels can run out of money, thereby prompting a return home before planned. In order to prevent this from happening, a high school graduate has the opportunity to travel while helping the areas they visit by applying and being accepted into a gap year program where they can travel to locations such as Cuba, Thailand, Peru, and regions of Africa while learning (GO Overseas, 2019). Some of these gap year programs even provide work opportunities. Work opportunities keeps money in the pocket, so free time can be spent exploring the land, gaining a new perspective on life after this life changing experience (GO Overseas, 2019).