Why Does the Gap Year Scare Us?

Tossing and turning at midnight, eating cinnamon buns every day, and staring at the bright screen of my laptop--I'm not in school; I'm on summer vacation. Yet I still have thoughts about a gap year. I did not do bad this semester. I, in fact, did stellar with an all A GPA. But getting it was not easy. During the semester, I developed bad and unhealthy habits, such as venting my problems to complete strangers and freaking out in public. Still tired and somewhat stressed, truly a three-month break is not enough. You might say that I need a gap year, and you're probably right. But many people continue to urge me to not go on a gap year and work on graduating on time. They, indeed, still associate a gap year with getting behind due to high school.

Since high school ingrained us to prefer the option of graduating on time, many people detest the gap year for putting people "behind." When my friend and I were talking about me considering a gap year, she immediately urged me not to. "Why do you want to delay your graduation," she said. She is not the only one who told me this, so I know one factor for why everyone has this reaction: high school. High school often tells students to get good grades to graduate "on time" and not drop out. With the ample pressure, many students internalize what their high school told them and carried it to college. And with this internalization, many students want to get their bachelors degree immediately. When I was junior in high school, I had to go to an assembly. The assistant principal in the school assembly spoke of the bachelor's degrees as some kind of prize: "jobs won't hire you unless you go to college." That kind of mentality stuck with me forever and so did everyone else. In this dire economic times, the bachelor degree promises some sort of stability. And so, we are rushing to get it. But, as we rush, we also crash down. Now, while crashing down seems more preferable to a gap year, it can also hinder your academic performance; though, nowadays, people rather "graduate on time" regardless of their performance.

After typing this article, I will go to sleep. Actually, I won't be going to sleep; I will continue to toss and turn as I think about my future. Even though I am headed towards the "finish line," I am not ready for my senior year at all. Yes, I got an all A GPA, but I made my health worse for it. I am scared that once I try to get another GPA like this, I will crash down so hard that my GPA actually suffers. Still, I have to force myself to put my anxieties aside and work on graduating "on time" because everyone expects me to.

Even when I crash so hard that my all A GPA turns into an all B GPA, I have to continue to graduate "on time," and then everyone will applaud me for this "smart decision," even though my decision won't be smart for my health.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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