4th hour English 12A
10 December 2012
In its most basic form, taking a gap year refers to taking a year out of studying to do something else. Many people take a gap year before starting college or work, but it can be taken at any time. A gap year is also taking “time off with a purpose.” It is not a time to do nothing, but is an intentional time of reflection and discovery before a major transition in life. It’s a chance to take a different route for a while, push yourself in a new direction before continuing on your path to higher education or work. The origination of the gap year concept was born out of the ‘Grand Tour’, an essential part of the education of many young English gentleman in the eighteenth century, which generally involved traveling for up to three years and stopping at cultural centers such as Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome. In the 1950’s, after WWII, youth travel and cultural exchange was viewed as a useful tool to build better global understanding and prevent future war. The first 'gap year', generally occurring between high school and college, actually started in the UK in the 1960's. Since the 1990's taking time out has become a rite of passage for tens of thousands of UK students. The gap year is now becoming increasingly popular with US students. Students today have experienced high to extreme academic pressure since elementary school. Educators and psychologists agree that many students are burnt out and have had very little time to reflect on who they are, what they’re truly interested in and what their life’s purpose will be. A gap year can be a precious time to explore, learn, travel, and experience more of a personal evolution. Perhaps these statistics offer further proof points. According to the College Board, three out of five students who enter a public four-year college don’t graduate within five years. And nearly 30 percent of all students who enter college don't return for their sophomore...