If you can stand in space, just for a little while, a new door will open, or you’ll be able to see in the dark after a while. You’ll adjust – J. Campion
Many parents are appalled by the idea of their son or daughter wanting to take a gap year. I have two sons and when my boys were in high school, I was one of those parents who consistently worried about the unfathomable gap year.
Here are some of the concerns going through your parents’ minds when they do not want you to take a gap year. What will you do with your time? What will you benefit by taking time off for that one year? Would that year turn into many gap years? Will you ever go back and complete your education? Will they have to support you financially all your life?
You get the idea…having clearly planned answers to these questions may help you convince your parents that you won’t be staying home playing video games or watching Netflix.
If you decide to take a gap year, you should have a solid plan about what you would like to do. You will show that you are taking the next step of your life journey as seriously as those young people out there who already know what they want to do and are ready to move forward.
The difference between you and them is that you still have not figured your next educational or career steps. You do not know what you want to do in your life. You do not want to jump into the first opportunity because your parents think it has the best career path. You do not want to choose a college/university program simply because your school counsellor said it is the best fit. Now that you have finished high school, you just want to take your time and explore different opportunities before taking that life altering decision.
Well, this is a normal feeling and I see your point. Taking gap year is a great idea and has plenty of benefits particularly if you are not clear on where you want to go next, if your parents approve and if you have the financial means to support yourself during that year. However, if for whatever reason taking a gap year is not an option, you need to know that the decision you make right after completing high school will only affect your whole life if you let it.
I understand that it can be scary to choose one experience when there are so many options out there. Here is a tip for you, you will still have time to explore all the options. What matters is that you do not give up on your plan to explore these opportunities. You can gain a better perspective on different careers and explore them through volunteering, summer internships or part-time jobs.
Here is another question that parents ask: What do young people do during a gap year? Young people typically take a gap year to travel, explore and earn some money. There are many opportunities out there for you to choose from and they involve volunteering, internships, hands-on education or certification and work. While travel seems to be the perfect choice, many young people do stay close to home and explore these experiences without travel which is what you would have been doing during your gap year.
While there may be more to a gap year, and you should take that year off if you think you need it, you CAN still find your life’s purpose if you choose a different path. All you have to do is take your time reflecting on what is important to you and you will figure it out. One step at a time!