Should You Take a Gap Year?
By Kia Imani
As many prepare to wrap up college, the next step is often up in the air. For many, landing their first job right after graduation is the dream! For others, they’d rather wait a little bit before embarking on the long journey of permanent adulthood. As a break, many people choose to take what society calls a gap year which is defined as the year after college but before adulthood. While this path may sounds amazing, just like everything else, a “gap year” isn’t for everyone.
The Life Currency spoke with Jasmine W. a 2014 graduate of Syracuse University. After graduating, unlike many of her peers, Jasmine decided to take a year off. “I knew I didn’t want to go straight to working full-time,” she said. “I’m probably going to be working full-time for a great deal of my life, so taking one year to focus on what I want to do actually isn’t that bad.”
According to a 2016 TIME article, most Americans stop working between 61 and 65. That means, Americans spend roughly 40 years working full-time. When you think about it, taking a gap year doesn’t sound like a bad idea. The thing is, gap years require much more preparation than just choosing to take that break.
“I had to make sure I had funds and the resources to do the things I wanted to do during my gap year,” said Jasmine. “While I was in school, I started thinking about some of the things I wanted to do and most of it required funds – as with many things. So I was very diligent in making and saving money while in school so when I graduated I felt comfortable taking that risky step where my money wasn’t quite guaranteed.”
Gap years are often most beneficial when you’ve planned well in advance for them. “It’s not like I just woke up one day and decided I wanted to take an entire year off,” explained Jasmine. “No. I did a lot of research and I did a lot of planning. I had an idea of the things I wanted to accomplish and I founds ways to make them come to life. I had an amazing time during my year and I think my success had a lot to do with my diligent planning. That’s the biggest piece of advice I have for anyone considering a gap year. Plan, plan, plan.”
During Jasmine’s gap year, she was able to visit family members in different countries, participate in volunteer missions, train for and successfully complete a half marathon and mentally prepare herself for her career journey ahead. She now works in financial planning and shared that she’s grateful that she had the opportunity to embark on such a journey.
“I’m so happy I was able to take that break. Since I’ve started working full-time, I realize how necessary that entire year was. I actually wish I could do it again. I definitely recommend everyone to at least consider it,” said Jasmine.
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.