December 7, 2012
Beneficial Time Off
For most Americans the traditional next step after graduating high school is enrolling into college. This causes an extreme pressure on high school graduates to continue on being a full time student whether it be from parents, fear of losing heath care, or watching friends go away to college. Many students to fall into the belief that quickly getting through the next four years of college to obtain a degree is the best way to lead to the beginning of career success and the next phase of their lives. However, dedicating oneself to a university is a task that takes extensive amounts of time with careful and precise planning, which most high school seniors do not have in the busy school year alone. These students may consider taking a gap year. A gap year (otherwise known as a deferred year or year off) is a period of time in which students take a break from formal education in order to travel, volunteer, study, intern, work, perform research, or any combination of these activities. A gap year can be immensely beneficial to students to gain a sense of identity, improve their education, and help strengthen their career choice. With a gap year students are able to gain independence, maturity, and an identity. Students must experience real world situations in order to gain insight and a better understanding of the world around them. Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson participated in the independent study of 280 gap year students resulting in the three highest related outcomes of a gap year: being able to have a sense of students gaining who they are, other countries and cultures, and more knowledge on choices they want to make later in life ( ). This validates the positive outcomes achieved during the life gaining experience during their gap year. Similarly, Andrew King from the department of sociology at Kingston University in London discusses the significance of identity work when...