Why It's Okay To Take A Gap Year

Why It's Okay To Take A Gap Year

It's becoming popular to take a year or semester off after high school.
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The practice of taking a gap year has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Even President Obama’s daughter Malia is deferring her admission to Harvard University. There are people who say gap years aren’t a good thing and that a student who takes a year or semester off before enrolling in college are less likely to complete a bachelor’s than those who entered college right after high school.

To be honest, taking a gap year or semester is good for several reasons. For me, when I graduated from high school, I was burnt out from all the academic coursework and social atmosphere I was forced to be in. As someone who has a disability which can force me to be an introvert at times, I need time to myself after dealing with people (especially my peers) for so long. I already had three colleges I hoped to attend and the results were denials, waitlists and not finishing an application. So, I was forced to attend the local community college. I'm not bashing community college, but I was personally not all that interested in going to one for several reasons.

I eventually withdrew from the college and took a semester off before going away to a college in Massachusetts in August of 2015. One of the main reasons I stopped going to community college was because I was confused (with what I wanted to do with my life) as well as suffering from brief chronic depression where I’d rather stay reclusive. My time off from school allowed me to recharge for a bit and prioritize my college plans. I no longer wanted to major in Music Business or Audio Production and really fell in love the idea of being a Communications major, which I am now. I was also able to find a school that was reasonably far and did not deny me on the basis of my very terrible SAT Scores.

While I didn’t get a job, I think taking a year off after high school is a good idea, or even a semester if you don’t want to be home for too long. There are programs for gap year kids or you could get a job at the local Target or Starbucks. If you have the means, go out and travel the world or the country. Many of my friends from college told me they took a year or semester to figure out what they wanted to do. In the end, you won’t be judged how long it takes it to get there, but for not getting there at all.

Cover Image Credit: VergeCampus

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Don't Be Afraid of Changing Your College Plan

It really isn't THAT bad...

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I can't claim to have any deep wisdom on life, but I at least have some good experience with a highly turbulent college career. I started as a game design major in a tech college in Rochester, NY, transferred to a college in Texas, and now I'm an English major at CofC.

My college life has been something of a roller coaster.

But I regret none of it. Maybe it would have been easier to stick to the track I was on initially, but I would never have been fully satisfied with it. Now I've finally found my place and, even though it may have taken a lot of shifting around, it was undoubtedly worthwhile.

I don't mean to say that everyone who is slightly dissatisfied with their major should transfer all over the country and change their major(I had to sacrifice the ability to get a minor because of the path I took, so I wouldn't recommend it to most people). I just believe that if you find yourself not liking the classes that are vital to your major or if you can't find a place at your current college, then changing your major or transferring isn't as horrible as you might imagine.

When I started college I was completely confident in what I wanted to do and what my future would look like. I thought it would be ridiculous for someone to stray from their initial path. That idea led to me deciding to transfer later than was smart.

I think everyone should know that having to change your plans for the future, sometimes in dramatic ways, isn't a bad thing. No matter how scary transferring and changing majors can seem, many people have done it before you and many will after, you aren't alone.

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