The Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year

Whether you’re finishing up matric or just starting up, your sights are already set on what you’re going to do after school. Many of us have it all planned out with Varsity, College or Technicon applications sent off, or our CV’s prepped to start internships or enter into the workforce. Then again, many of us aren’t too sure what we want to do just yet, or, even if we are, we need to take some time off to explore and grow on a personal level. For these people, the gap year usually gives some much needed perspective. A gap year is a break between school and university where you might choose to do other things, like work or travel. 

When deciding if a gap year is for you, there are a few Pros and Cons to consider:

Cons:

  • Money – Taking a gap year can be very expensive. If you’re lucky enough to have family who can support this, awesome! But the reality for most is you’ll need careful planning and saving to pull it or off. Volunteer work can also be fun, how about being an Au Pair (work overseas by doing housework or helping with childcare in exchange for food, a room and some pocket money)? Or why not try out as a summer camp counsellor overseas? These are great ways to travel to new countries and meet new people while earning money for varsity.
  • Getting homesick – If you choose to travel overseas, the reality is that you will miss your family, remember to stay in regular contact and keep in mind you’ll be together again soon enough.
  • Losing momentum in your studies – So you finally got the hang of studying with grade 11 and Matric exams and now you take a year off without a hint of schoolwork? For some, taking a gap year makes it hard to return to studying and varsity afterwards.

 Pros:

  • Personal growth – Gap years can be your chance to shine, away from home and learning to stand on your own feet can provide your first taste of adulthood.
  • Learning about new cultures – If you choose to go to a different country, you will gain experience in different ways of life, you might even learn a new language – Bonus!
  • Gaining work experience before varsity – Doing volunteer work or taking a job in your gap year can give you great experience and your first entry into the working world. Even if you study after this, your CV will have so much more to offer.

Any way you look at it, both good and bad, taking a gap year can be a life changing experience. Are you considering one? Let me know, I’d love to hear your plans chomas!