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To gap year or not to gap year?

A Picture of Lydia

To gap year or not to gap year ? Now, that is the question…

I decided to take a gap year pretty early on in my final year of A levels. I was unsure about what I wanted to study and I really wanted to travel.  However, even during my final year as my friends became ever more excited for University-I did begin to doubt my decision. In the end I had a great year which I would not change for the world, but there are some common questions  and myths  which prevent some from deciding whether a gap year is the right decision for them. Here I use my previous experience to defeat some of those gap year myths:

One – You will be older than everyone else at University

The main fear many have about taking a gap year is being far older than their peers. Firstly,  if you decide to take a gap year, you will not be the only person – there will be plenty of people who decided to take a year out and who will be in exactly the same position as you. Secondly, you will be a fresher the same way everyone else is a fresher – you will all be going through completely new experiences at the same time. Ultimately, that one year becomes very insignificant when faced with that. Obviously, I have faced a few jokes about my pensioner status from my flatmates, but it won’t be long before you have your own witty comebacks after you’ve lived with them enough to collect your own set of awkward stories and events.

Two – Gap Years are just a waste of time

Gap years can be used to gain valuable experiences either by following an interest such as travel or by using the time to gain money or work experience skills which will help you later in life.

A photo from when I visited Venice whilst I was travelling on my gap year

A photo from when I visited Venice whilst I was travelling on my gap year

Three – You will be disadvantaged because you took a break from education

This myth was one of my main concerns when I came back to University and I can tell you now, it is a complete lie. As a gap year student you may find writing essays or tackling those equations a challenge at first, but you pick it up extremely quickly so whilst the first years who came straight through my school may have a slight advantage in areas – some of them will still be struggling with learning other areas of university life which  gap year students may find easier such as independence, cooking, shopping…you know the drill.

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