In many parts of the world, taking some time off to travel, volunteer and gain some life experience in between your secondary and higher education is the norm. For many others, however, taking this ‘’gap year’’ is not, and it is expected that you will immediately transition between the two educational experiences. The idea of taking time off in-between is not viewed favorably—it is seen as irresponsible, unnecessary or a waste of time. There is a much higher premium on formal education, and therefore, it should be started as soon as possible. While there is really no right or wrong to the situation, I have to say that I strongly disagree with this stance, and I believe many young people would greatly benefit from a gap year rich with travel. If this idea appeals to you, here are three compelling reasons to just go for it, regardless of any pushback you receive from those around you.
Get to Know Yourself Better
At this stage in life, there is so much uncertainty about who you truly are. Peer pressure, culture, religion and expectations from family may have exerted a stronger influence than you would have liked; and who you think you are now, or who you think you want to be, may not be the case at all. Nothing has helped me get to know myself better than traveling, and this time in between high school and college is the perfect point to benefit from all the insight it will provide.
When you are traveling, you have an opportunity to remove yourself from things that may be negatively influencing you; you get out of the monotonous routine that can get you into a mental rut; you are stimulated by new experiences that get the creative juices flowing; you have time to really think about who you are and what you want. The better you know yourself, the more confident you will be in making decisions about your career and other important aspects of your life. You will better be able to resist the opinions, doubts, and criticisms of others because you just know you are making the right decisions for this moment in time.
Tremendous Benefit of Volunteering
Volunteering is often a part of a travel-filled gap year, and with good reason. There is no shortage of organizations around the world that need your help and specifically design programs for people such as yourself. Because you are not just limited to a short stint typical of a regular vacation, you have an opportunity to really get involved in a cause and make a difference. You learn so much about the local culture and the problems people in that area face. It can really open your eyes to what is going on in the world. For more information visit https://stylebuzzer.com.
International volunteering is a great way to help you increase your sense of gratitude about your own life—we take so much for granted in the developed modern world. So many of your problems will seem insignificant. You will gain a whole new perspective on life that many other people your age simply won’t.
You May Not Get Another Chance
You have no idea what the future may hold, and while I am really not one to hold a negative view of life, or believe that age diminishes opportunity, the fact remains that many people end up on a path that makes experiencing something like this very difficult later on in life. Depending on your career, you may not have the luxury to travel long-term; once you get married and have children, the responsibilities of raising a family will be all-consuming. Right now, you are young, healthy and free of any major responsibilities holding you to your current way of life.
Take advantage of that to have an experience that can change your life.