Gap Year or Not: A small debate about taking a gap year

I was saddened today by an article I read by the mail online.  The article discussed A-Level results and the choice that comes with it…straight to university or gap year first? Unfortunately the article has many negative views towards a gap year that I feel can be greatly argued in a small debate!

“Wherever you stand on the issue of how higher education should be funded – is a colossal sum. And with research suggesting that undergraduates will pay an average of £8,385 for their studies in 2012-13, the idea of a year drifting round the beaches and bars of South East Asia suddenly seems less enticing”…Seems less enticing? If anything it makes me want to go away as much as I can before I have to deal with a future bound by student debt and mortgages…the fact that you won’t be actually paying for university until you have graduated and earning over £21,000 per year is a massive bonus too.  The fact of the matter is whether you go to university this year or in three years time you are still going to come away with debt!  So why not take the opportunity to go travelling while you are in plus figures and enjoy seeing the world, trying new things and gaining more life skills that may very well contribute to your university / working world experience in the future.

“Did I return from South East Asia a wiser, better person of increased poise and stature? No, not really. I was 18 when I flew out and 18 when I came back – and, if I recall, the only significant change when I arrived home was the condition, smell and colour of the clothing in my suitcase”… How does that saying go again?… ‘Life is what you make of it!’ one could argue that it is your choice to take a gap year therefore your responsability to make the most of it! As someone who went away on a gap year I personally feel I did come away wiser…
– I learnt to live away from home therefore taking on more responsabilities including looking after flat and paying rent/bills on time.
– I learnt to hold down a job in a professional environment rather than a part time job in a pub.
– I gained communication skills in regards to making friends and bonding with work colleagues
– I gained confidence it finding my away around locations I had never been before and adapting my attitudes based on the cultures surrounding the location and people.

“Of course, this is a very middle-class problem to fret about – not least in a bleak age of recession and economic instability. The gradual metamorphosis of the gap year from aspirational possibility to expensive indulgence will not damage the career prospects of this year’s intake of undergraduates”…I feel it is wrong to assume that it is mainly a ‘middle-class problem’ as it is any individual’s choice to take a gap year, and even if an individual from a middle class family were to take a gap year it is wrong to assume the family are paying for it!

Overall, I am naturally going to be biased about taking a gap year because of the incredible experiences that I had working as a ski instructor in Whistler; many long hard hours of work before I left the UK to save up for this trip were also part of the experience. The achievements and challenges whilst in Canada were numerous, and have greatly changed how I deal with things now.

However, don’t just take my word for it look at what the expects say such as Year Out Group
“Skills gained on a well-structured gap year are much in demand from employers. These include fundraising, working in teams, risk management, thinking under pressure and the international perspective gained by working in another culture. But perhaps the greatest benefit is the increase in confidence that comes from tackling a major challenge and succeeding.
Richard Oliver (Chairman and Chief Executive of Year Out Group) adds: ‘Students who take a year out before university arrive refreshed, focused and, if they have made full use of their time out, they will be better able to make the transition from dependence to independence’”

Interested in a gap year? Check out our website and view the variety of options available! If you are just looking for some impartial advice on what to do next, our highly experienced team are more than happy to help, call us on 01892 770771.







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