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Photo Credit: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

As my first year of college comes to an end, I reflect on what has brought me to this point. The journey through year one has been wild, unpredictable, often a lot of fun, and sometimes not so much. If nothing else, there is one thing that has stuck with me: the gap year. Call it biased, but I contribute much of my own success in this first year of college to what I learned when I took a gap year. 

What pushes so many students straight into the abyss of college after a few months break from high school? The social pressure of getting a degree? The idea that to have a happy life, you have to go to college, get married, and have kids, in that order? It’s hard to say. Still, I ask whoever I can (including anyone reading this) to consider gap years, and maybe, if we’re lucky, destigmatize it a little bit. 

I started out my gap year in Arizona, fresh out of high school, graduation cap still sitting on my desk in my room, graduation money burning a hole in my pocket. From there, I went all over the Western United States and then to Europe, all alone, with most of what I had scraped together working retail jobs. But all that would be far too much to read. The point is I was admittedly immature, nowhere near ready for university, and a gap year fixed that.

So, you’re reading all this, but you’re probably not a high school senior. Luckily, gap years aren’t exclusive. If you feel aimless, if you don’t think you’re doing well academically, or if you’re just exhausted at the thought of going to class every morning, do some research on the gap year. Take some time away to develop interests and be confident returning to school with new goals and a new perspective.

 

Guest columns are written by The Sentry staff to give them the experience of writing  an editorial and the platform to share their stories.

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