A gap year for someone can mean many things: a semester or full year away from school. What does someone do with that kind of time? It could be for travel, a break or most commonly, extra time to pursue one’s hobbies, interests and passions. It can also help students learn more about the world, instead of living in a college campus bubble for four years.
During the pandemic, the percentage of students taking gap years rose from 3% to a whopping 20%. Remote learning during this time caused many students to take a break. The reasons varied from cost to mental exhaustion. However, gap years aren’t a bad thing. Many people have had truly eye opening experiences while taking one, making gap years something they would recommend to someone thinking about it.
Jayden Knox, a graduate from Florida A&M University said that he found “patience, enjoyment and focus” while taking a gap year.
“During my gap year, I learned to truly enjoy this year to the fullest while also maintaining my focus and the goals I have set for my future. Patience has become a factor because, after a while, I began to get into that mindset of wanting to become a student again,” he explained.
While going to college and learning can be an educational experience as it is, taking a year off can be as well. Knox also said he learned to manage time better and be more self aware of his surroundings, while staying organized.
For many college and high school students, education is a giant risk factor for stress.
When there is too much on someone's plate, the immediate response is to try to take some of it off. A gap year is a perfect way to unwind and focus on things that aren’t just about schoolwork. Many people try to rush out of college to graduate as soon as possible, but sometimes you don’t need to finish things early to get a headstart. Many people have found passions, jobs, and pathways they want to pursue while some students after graduation may not have any plans for the future.
“The time I had a realization about myself was when I was in deep thought one night and thought of every aspect of my life that wasn't good for me mentally. There was a lot of elimination I did. I eliminated factors that didn't help me in any way when it comes to maintaining my passion for being a creative person.”
Others found that taking a gap year was beneficial as well.