MSNBC.com posted an article today that I found surprising and interesting. Apparently some of America’s highest-regarded institutes of higher learning are suggesting that graduating seniors take a year off before they start college. Fascinating! From the article:
It’s called a “gap year.” And while it’s been a common and popular rite of passage in Australia and the U.K. for decades, the concept is now starting to gain significant steam here in America.
A gap year, huh? Lump me into that portion of the American public who went to nursery school, then immediately to preschool, then immediately to grade school, then immediately to high school, then immediately to college, then immediately to graduate school, and then immediately into the full-time workforce. I started my education at 2 years old and I finished it (for the time being) at age 25. No “gap” year for me…or most of the people that I know, quite frankly. More from the article:
A growing number of high school seniors are balking at riding the academic conveyer belt from preschool all the way to university. They’re burnt out. Or not quite ready. Or they want to explore a few interests before deciding what to study in college. So instead of packing their bags in anticipation of freshman year, they’re volunteering in New Orleans or teaching in Thailand. They’re starting the great American novel, or interning to help figure out what they want to do with their lives.
I love it!
What a brilliant idea, if you can afford it. Using hindsight as 20/20, I would have loved to travel for a little bit before going to college or before going to graduate school. Of course, I couldn’t do that before graduate school because if you don’t go back to school, then you have to start paying back your loans. However, taking a year off before college to do something else would have been a good idea – especially this idea of trying to get an internship or two in the off year. Good thinking.
I would have loved that internship idea because honestly, at 27 years old, I’m not entirely sure that my current field is one that I want to stay in for the long-term. Anyway, this is an interesting idea and I wish that there was some data to show that taking a year off after high school provided a net benefit for the student. I’m also lured by the idea of a “gap” year where you have no “real world” responsibilities! I was just telling one of my roommates that once I pay off my student loans and all other major outstanding debts AND I put aside enough money to live a scant life off of the interest, it has always been my plan to either take a sabbatical from my job or leave the workforce for about a year. Again, I’ve never really had a “break” from school or athletics or work and I’m not willing to wait until I’m 67 for my first long-term vacation!
But I have to get there first… Wish me luck! 🙂