Why is a gap year so important for your future career?

Why is a gap year so important for your future career?

The end of high school for prospective students is usually traumatizing, since all one is able to care about is getting the best grades and searching for the greatest Universities to enroll. After quite a time of studying hard and focusing on “what’s best for you” how about reflecting on the stress and frustration which are potential enemies into depriving you of your goals. There are several advantages into taking a year or more off before deciding what to do with the rest of your life, professionally and educationally.


Post teen-age is the right time to take your life by the horns and try to make something out of it. The need for privacy is already a burden and moving away from your ready-made life becomes a necessity. When taking a year off, the majority of students sign up for volunteer work in different parts of the world in order to face real life responsibilities and a cultural shock. All the past years in the comfort zone around family and friends makes life seem easier than it is in reality, therefore being on your own for a while in a completely different surrounding, living under unimaginable customs and traditions will broaden your horizons and train your patience into accepting change as a positive thing. Living on your own is always a struggle at first, since apart from the beauty of it there are certain mandatory duties that will haunt you eventually, until they become part of your daily routine. Incredible how time flies when you have to do everything by yourself, and without the proper organization and consistency failure is a sure thing. Learning how to organize your life in order to complete the necessary tasks on time is a life worthy lesson.

Emancipation does not always mean running from your old life into an entire new experience, on the contrary it’s just a step ahead, a small change for a greater purpose; the purpose to become self-confident of your actions  and the concurrent reactions. The life concept itself includes planning, risks and sacrifices, all in the right moment so emancipation is how you put all the previously learned theories into action. Likewise taking a year off your studying routine and switching your attention into you facing your surroundings, paying attention to detail, researching for information beyond the school syllabus and keeping an open mind will help you realize what you really want from your life and your future profession.


During the time you are off the studying mode, pick up a job at something you think you are good at. Based upon your salary try reasonably to come up with a budget that will cover your basic expenses just to get an idea of how much you cost as an individual. Once you are buying stuff out of your pocket you will start thinking twice about many items you “supposedly” need because you will realize that you can easily do without them. Looking back on the small stuff that someone in the family got rid off for you like doing the laundry, cleaning the house, cooking healthy food or taking care of the monthly bills will get you to appreciate all those people around you, doing everyday favors to each just so the little ones can focus on their books, which at the time is highly precious but it is never a permanent solution. While learning how to harmonize time and your needs you will learn how to appreciate more your earnings, your free time and the good old deeds from your loved ones.

No Regrets

After finishing high school, one starts having doubts if a couple of months is enough time to decide on the path you want to lead. Choosing the career that best suits your skills and talents is by far more complex than picking up a job in transition that will maybe help you realize what you we’re cut for and why, a job that you can quit any moment you feel like this not working for you anymore. Signing up for a wrong field at a wrong University has the risk of discouraging you into dropping everything you dreamt about as a result of a rushed decision. Again, this is no factual information just an honest observation on the nowadays lifestyle.


As a period off, one has to loosen up and dedicate this time to everyday things that matter, and most importantly fulfill our lives. Just as in therapy, combating stress needs a positive approach and inspiration. Take the time to reflect on all the things you wished you could do back in the days when you had priorities, and select the ones that are truly important. If possible, try making up for lost times as this stress relieving techniques will help you clear your head and come up with more objective decisions in the future.

Work Experience

Any type of work comes with some basic obligations as punctuality, team working, respect, tension management, honesty and obedience among others. As a student, you are usually in the center of attention and with time that becomes a common thing. As a student everyone has his/her time to speak up their minds so it’s not like you is rushing anywhere or anyone will ever take your place. On the contrary, when working you always feel the pressure of combat and competition since it’s expected of you to the best you can and if not you can easily replaced. As long as it remains within a certain level, this tension can be motivational and inspiring.

The desire to change the world

Wherever you head for, you will notice how different the people’s lives are, the way they think and behave and unfortunately you will realize that this utopic bubble you thought the world was is just a naive approach to reality. However this utopia has been going on since humanity and it has always been the trigger of change in the world. No matter what your profession will be in the future, or the contribution to the society believing in change is essential so in order to concept change one has to have an idea what the reality really looks like.  Traveling is a great way to put things in perspective yet there are a million other ways one just has to be creative and adventurous.

Share This

About the author

I'm Vanessa from Florida, US. An avid reader and always hungry for knowledge, I studied Sociology at the University of Florida, now I'm in Portugal studying for my MA. I also write for a few education and social media blogs in the spare time. You can follow me on Twitter and Google+.

View all articles by Vanessa Craigson