A Gap Year: The Pros and Cons
To gap year or not?! One hell of a question, right.
To embark on a year of adventure and exploration or get ahead of your peers by entering a career path or go back to school. At some point the latter will happen, it goes without saying, but is taking time out before getting back to business really worth it? (Sidenote: gap year opportunities have expiry dates…just so you know!)
You may still be unsure about the idea of a gap year or you may even be at the stage where you’re 100% sure you want to do a gap year. Either way, understanding the pros and cons will help to clarify the realities, pros, and cons (hint: this can come in helpful when you’re discussing your plan with mom and dad too!).
Understanding the potential impact of a gap year on your life is highly important, so here goes…
Pro: Adds to your resume
A gap year can provide so many skills that any employer will be impressed with. The ability to work in a diverse environment, step outside your comfort zone, maturity, and ability to communicate cross-culturally to name but a few skills. What about all those great working abroad and travel stories you can tell during your interview too? A lot more interesting that discussing how you used your initiative to clean up a spilled milkshake on aisle four.
Con: You are away from life at home (…for a long time!)
Uhhhh toughie and there’s no doubt about it, being away from family, friends and the familiar ain’t easy. But we suggest asking this question: what will you lose from doing a gap year? Also, consider the gains too: travel, learning, growth, and experience. Facebook, Skype, and Instagram have made it very easy to stay in touch with home, so you are always only a call or message away.
Oh and remember you don’t have to literally work and travel for a whole year: it is very common for many to work and travel for six or eight months as opposed to the full year. The working holiday visa to Ireland simply permits you to stay a maximum of 365 days.
Pro: Lots of experience
You will collect some amount of experiences and stories- we suggest taking a big diary! These stories/experiences are always great for your blogs, social media postings, they even come in handy when you get back to real life and are talking with a prospective employer.
Con: Could be Risky
What is life without risk eh?! But you know what…deciding to take the leap is harder than actually taking the leap. We haven’t met anyone who has regretted taking a gap year: even those who decided to go home before their visa was up. Everyone gets something out of the experience: new skills, overcoming a fear or even learning to navigate through a new country.
Pro: New Friends
Especially when you gap year through a program you will meet lots of new people. You get to meet people from all walks of life, develop new lifelong friendships and even gain travel buddies!
Yep, it happens. Homesickness can strike at any time, be it, missing a family member’s birthday, around holidays or just on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A lot of time it gets you wondering if you made the right choice but the nice thing about a gap year is traveling provides a distraction. The best way to combat homesickness: recognize it, allow it to happen and push through!
Pro: It’s a year to learn about you
Whether you start a gap year knowing the path you want to take or not, you really do learn a lot about yourself. Every experience, good or bad, throughout a gap year provides you with the opportunity to reflect. Many people use a gap year to find their calling or path.
Con: It’s an escape from “real life”
Unfortunately, Elon Musk has not yet offered any intergalactic gap year opportunities, so we hate to say that taking a gap year does not involve the exiting of “real life”. In actual fact, life becomes more real. A gap year exposes you to a variety of cultures and societies that you would not have seen otherwise. And believe us, moving to a new country, learning to live in a new place whilst having to adapt is hugely beneficial. The only real escape is from the day to day routine and comfort of home, and yes this can sometimes be difficult.
Pro: It’s a break from education
Up until the point of taking a gap year, you will have spent a lot of time studying, taking tests and stressing about your GPA. Loss of motivation and focus can hit hard whilst it’s easy to start taking education for granted. Taking a gap year can re-energise you, let you have some time off, help to regain that focus whilst also providing an opportunity to figure out your true path.
Con: You’re no longer a student
Nooooo, there goes access to the food hall and not having to roll out of bed until after midday. Honestly, it does have its benefits. A gap year is more of a transition period, it eases you into real adult life whilst affording you the opportunity to adventure before you enter that new job or grad school.
So, there you have it, some pros and cons to a gap year. We hope this can help in making your decision a little bit easier, or help prepare you to chat with your parents. If you have any potential worries or questions, we would be glad to discuss them with you. Just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading out blog!