Taking a Gap Year From College

No, Taking A Gap Year Won't Ruin Your Life

Breathe, taking a break from school is actually a good thing.


If you're anything like me, then you know how difficult it was going into university with a declared major when you had no idea if it was the right choice. Now here you are, two years into your degree program, and you're still questioning if this is even what you want to do with your life. You feel like you are stuck in a rut of either sucking it up and just dealing with the next few semesters, or you feel the uncertainty of changing your major so late in the game. The third option is one that so many people see as the worst choice of all, taking a gap year. So, what are you to do?

For me, I choose the gap year, and it was the best decision of my life.

What so many people think about when considering taking a gap year falls around the ideas that they will fall behind on graduating "on-time"; you'll be seen as lazy, or you'll feel as if you have failed. Well, I am here to tell you that yes, these things will happen. But they will be the best things that can happen to you. When I first decided to take a gap year, I was at the end of my wits. I had lost complete motivation to go to my classes, I felt like I was a robot when I did go in and I was only applying myself enough to get a passing grade.

Every time I tried to speak to anyone about my inner struggle, immediately I was told that everyone goes through this phase and that I just needed to push through my classes and graduate. This never felt right, why should you just have to settle for what the norm is and be miserable when you should be trying to better yourself. I started researching motivations for college and how to just pull through when I stumbled on a post talking about how taking time off helped rejuvenate their mental state. So, if taking time off in the real world, post-college, was OK then why wouldn't it be OK to try it out in college?

Society has this perceived notion that they place on all of us: once you start to fall behind you are a failure. I think that's why so many of us try to steer clear from the idea of taking a year off, its almost as if your mental health break is a vacation in the world's eyes. A study conducted by the Gap Year Association found that when students take gap years, 84% gained skills in order to become successful in their aspiring careers. 51% Took this time to explore other studies, and 73% increased their readiness for college.

I can tell you from my personal experience without the pressures of university looming over me, I was able to sit and really reflect on who I wanted to be as a person. I traveled to new places, I moved cross country and back again. I was able to rediscover my passions in life. I did all of these things without being stuck in the commitment of my degree's program, and I also stopped myself from wasting money on studies I no longer had the interest in perusing.

Now two years later I am back at my university, under a new major, knowing that I am confident in what I want to study and where I want to go in life. Again, don't freak out because you will watch your friends graduate before you. Remember your family will have zero understanding as to why taking an entire year, or more, off will somehow benefit you. But more importantly, know that you will watch yourself grow into a new person. So, go. Get out there, take the year off and explore the world, or just take some time for your mental sanity.

In the end, this decision can help you pave your way and save yourself from a list of questions of what if's.

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Being Home From School, As Told By Rachel Green

You never know how good you have it on campus until it's 9pm and all the stores at home are closed.

Oh, look, another Odyssey Article about the struggles of being a college student home for summer break. Bet you didn't see that one coming. Our lives aren't actually that difficult, but it is definitely weird being home. If you know a college student, chances are that despite the workload, the late nights and the sub-par dining commons food, they wish they were back on campus. That's how magical college life can be. And being home isn't bad, per se, it's just... not campus.

1. You miss your friends. Like crazy.

It's not that your family isn't great company, or your high school friends aren't really your friends anymore. They are, and you love them! It's just that you don't bond with anyone quite like you do with the people you're at the library with until four o'clock in the morning, working on an essay you realize is due in two days and not the next one.

2. You realize just how good you had it at the dining commons.

Who knew you could miss mystery meat and pre-packaged sandwiches? College students who realize that cooking is not their thing, and the easiest snacks are the sugary ones you buy for a dollar at the gas station.

3. You have to get a summer job, and it's not the cushy three-hour gig you had at school.

The first two weeks after you get home are so full of hope. You run around to twelve different stores, picking up applications, flashing that college-counselor certified resume. And it almost feels as though you've got it together. Until week three hits and you're still jobless and still not unpacked.

4. You finally get to see your college friends, and leaving them feels like ripping an arm off.

I mean you miss them for a reason. What, did I expect saying goodbye a second time would be easier? Of course not. And the amount of planning that had to go into getting together with them was sort of absurd.

5. In your unemployment, your parents give you some chores to do... and then they ask if you finished them.

Where do the days go? You have maybe a few babysitting jobs, minimal errands to run and still there doesn't seem to be enough time to vacuum and do the dishes. Maybe the twenty minutes before your mom gets home from work is enough time to give the illusion of cleanliness.

6. Your siblings are always in your room. Always.

You love your family. Really truly. But it's easier to love them if you don't spend every second sitting right next to them, picking up on all the annoying little habits they have. Pro tip; a good relationship with a sibling means never, ever eating popcorn near each other.

7. You've caught up on sleep, organized your room, done your chores and ran out of Netflix shows. What now.

There are very few things worse than knowing it's summer vacation, knowing you should be out having fun before another school year begins... and still being bored out of your mind.

8. In the end, though, you'll be okay

There's only so much summer to go around. Get done what you've been meaning to, talk to your friends frequently and get ready for another fun-filled school year in the coming fall. You'll need all the rest you can get.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros. TV

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5 Reasons Why Staying At College For The Summer Is The Ultimate Power Move

No school, no rules, summer vacation at the best place on Earth, also known as college.


As summer begins, it brings in the joy of no more school but for most what summer really brings is the sad realization that we have to leave our favorite place and go back to our boring home town with none of our new best friends. Although some have decided to stay at college for the summer and they will soon realize why this will be the best choice that they will be making all summer.


What's better than no school, warm weather, and most importantly no one to say, "Are you just going to sleep till 2:30 p.m. every day this summer?"

1. It's like the weekend, but every day

Do you know what weekends felt like during the school year when you didn't have anything to do? No? You never had any free weekends? Wow, I'm so sorry. Well, imagine a weekend that you didn't have to do anything. Now multiply that one weekend by seven and you get seven Saturday like days where you do not have a single care in the world.

3. No "Go cut the grass!"

For the sons, you know that annoying time every week when your dad is going to say, "Go cut the grass." There is nothing you can do to get out of it. Well, staying at school for the summer means no more nagging. You get to choose what you do now.

4. The bond of friendship

The friends you make when you stay at college for the summer are different than any other bond. Mostly because you all don't have a care in the world since it's summer in your favorite place. It's a right of passage to call someone your summer college best friends. These are best friends that words wouldn't do justice.

5. The townies

Everybody always wonders what happens to a college town when all the college kids go home. Well, the townies come back in full swing and take their town back. If you stay at your college, you get to experience what most can't even describe in words. To the one mid-40s guy trying to relive his glory days. To the old men hitting on the college girls at the local pub. To the weird towny creatures that make you shiver with fright as you drive past them. Have fun townies, you only have three months.

That dream of "I wish I could just stay here at college with all these people but have no responsibilities" is finally coming true.

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