A Gap Year – A Wasted Year


Linh Cardinali

“I don’t know what I want to do, so I’m taking a gap year.”

When students do not feel prepared for higher education, this is frequently what comes to mind. Gap years are a very personal subject that can be useful for students who struggle with studying, are undecided about their future choice, or have burned out after high school. However, in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Taking a gap year to work or travel may appeal to some individuals as a brilliant way to broaden their horizons, but it may quickly become expensive and ineffective, resulting in a lost year.

Budgeting is one of the put off factors for many students since it is frequently geared for wealthier students and is tough to handle even with student aid in place. “There are programs like Carpe Diem Education that provide financial aid if money is an issue for you,” advises a student who took a gap year, demonstrating that there are choices for people who financial help will need to be repaid at some point in the future, which may not be ideal at the start of one’s career. Budgeting can be quite different for every form of gap year as some may cannot afford a gap year (Author). Nevertheless, it should be noted that the majority of these decide to do volunteering abroad whilst some may decide to gain some work experience. Volunteering may necessitate a larger budget than those who are compensated for their professional expertise. As a result, it makes gap years more accessible to richer students, as most students cannot afford to deviate from their studies. Less wealthy students would have to work or rely on financial aid to fund a gap year, which would prevent them from getting a fresh start at university. Thus, many individuals perceive a gap year as a luxury. If you’d like to take a gap year on a moderate salary, you’ll need to learn how to budget well. Although this may appear to be a basic concept, it is not one that is taught in school, and factors such as transportation and food may be overlooked. Therefore, it necessitates a certain level of responsibility and preparation in order to be carried out. Money is a consideration while considering a gap year, particularly if one comes from a lower-income household, since it may not appear to be a more cost-effective option to university.

Making a budgeting plan is necessary, but it is not the only plan that must be established; in order to take a gap year, one must consider what they plan to do with this year as it is for most an unproductive year. Many students choose to take a gap year to consider their career options. “For many, however, a year of exploration turns into months of no direction and increasing hopelessness” (Published). A gap year is often a waste of time and does not serve a purpose in one’s future profession as many do not use it to further dig into their interests and career paths. To fix this issue, students may enrol in a number of internships in each subject of interest, which will offer them with not only knowledge but also work experience in that field for their university applications. A gap year is frequently used to provide something to discuss about during university and job interviews, therefore it is important that one reflects on these experiences in order to demonstrate the influence they had on them. However, if one is to do nothing during their gap year which is often the case, they have nothing to reflect on and prove to universities. It is presented as a leisurely vacation which makes the candidate appear much weaker than if they had opted out of a gap year. Furthermore, a gap year adds to one’s responsibilities since, unlike at university, one must establish their own timetable rather than having one created for them. It necessitates more individualised effort, which some people are hesitant to do. A gap year may not fit some people as it requires motivation, efficiency, and planning which some people lack, therefore, making individuals less appealing candidates for university.

However, taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, gap years can give fresh experiences and may be the ideal option for certain persons who feel adrift after four years of high school. Because it gives life experience, a gap year may be a “great conversation starter during a job interview”(Murchison). Some individuals may have spent their whole life in a

small town and believe they lack something that sets them apart from other students; therefore, a gap year may offer them with something to focus their university application on and provide them with additional opportunities. These outside of the classroom experiences are for some students “the most valuable learning” as they provide individuals with life lessons that cannot be taught in school (Author). Travelling might bring one a wider perspective on the world, volunteering might open one’s eyes on how privileged they are, and work experience might bring one closer to their destined path. No matter the outcome, the journey through these experiences helps some discover their “passions, your personal beliefs and your individual personality,” which are critical characteristics that some might not have acquired through their high school experience (Author). Lastly, for certain individuals who have suffered a complete burnout after high school or have not achieved their desired grades, a gap year may be considered essential. They are able to recuperate and get their highest marks by taking a gap year, allowing them to start university fresh and full of enthusiasm. As a result, taking a gap year might be beneficial in certain people’s journeys towards university.

Going to university right away, in my opinion, is more beneficial since it assures that no time is squandered and offers a sense of security because one does not have to be fully mature yet. Although it might be useful to certain individuals who are seeking self-discovery or are entirely unsure of their preferred professional path, it can also come at a financial cost and make the transition to university more challenging. In order to make gap years less frequent as they are often ill managed, students should be counselled extensively during high

school about various career path and granted the opportunities to travel and form experiences through activities such as field trips. High school should provide the opportunities that some seek in gap years so that students do not feel compelled to take a gap year.


Author Mediaplanet, Author, & Mediaplanet. (2019, July 18). A student’s perspective on

taking a gap year. Retrieved July 14, 2021, from https://www.educationandcareernews.com/college-preparedness/a-students- perspective-on-taking-a-gap-year/#

Murchison, C., Palmer, A., Parker-Magyar, K., & Murchison, C. (2021, February 19). The pros & cons of taking a gap year. Retrieved July 14, 2021, from https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/pros-and-cons-taking-gap-year

Published by ngairegardiner View all posts by ngairegardiner, Ngairegardiner, P., Ngairegardiner, Ngairegardiner, V., Says:, C., Says:, S., & Says:, M. (2017, August 10). Gap years and why they’re often a huge mistake. Retrieved July 14, 2021, from https://schoolsindustry.com.au/2017/08/10/gap-years-and-why-theyre-often-a-huge- mistake/.