With the onset of COVID-19 this past spring, we all found ourselves feeling the effects of social-distancing on a variety of levels. Whether it meant struggling with the emotions and sadness that comes with missing your friends, working to find a work-life balance in school with everything shifted online, or figuring out how to navigate a huge transition in your life (college applications, new jobs, new schools, etc.), all of us were thrown into situations we had never experienced before.
The pandemic has forced us all to start thinking a little bit more about how we go about our day to day. Maybe you’ve been struggling with days blurring together and feeling the same, or maybe you’ve been having epiphanies, crises, or deep moments of introspection that have got you thinking about what’s next: for some of you, maybe you’ve even wondered if going straight to college next year is right for you.
The idea of a gap year presents so many pros and cons, and is an option that many students consider, regardless of whether or not there is a global pandemic. The traditional path to college straight out of high school is often something that's pressured or considered “normal,” and so beginning to second guess that path can be a little frightening. However, especially now that so many things in life are up in the air, it's more important than ever to learn about your options, and find a path that will best set you up to be successful in life.
So… a gap year. What are the pros and cons?
Beyond any pros and cons listed regarding taking a gap year, I would say that whatever route you choose, don’t worry about wasting your time, or falling behind. One year in the grand scheme of life is nothing compared to your eventual career and future, and if it helps you get one step closer to finding out who you truly are and what makes you happy, what could be bad about that? No matter what experience you end up having, it will teach you something about your own aspirations, about the real world and life dynamics, and about how you operate when thrown into new situations. The most important thing however, is to embark on whatever choice you make with a plan, a loose end destination/goal regarding what you want to get out of your gap year or college experience, and what steps you want to take to get there.
However, if you find yourself caught in the middle, maybe try thinking about alternatives:
For more advice on whether or not a gap year is right for you, schedule a call with me! Having experienced both virtual learning and a remote job hunt, I know what it’s like to be choosing between both of those options. Let’s get through it together!
Sarah is a Consultant on the Study Hall College Consulting Team. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley in the Class of 2020 where she majored in Architecture and minored in Spanish Language & Literature. For more college application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at shcollegeconsulting.com.