Gap years are so much more than just time off school, an opportunity to get community service hours, obtain certifications, or travel. Don’t get me wrong, these things are crucial to make sure you don’t remain stagnant over the duration of the year. However, I believe the most beneficial use of time during this year is spent finding yourself. During highschool, students are swamped with assignments, extracurricular commitments, and even part time jobs that leave little to no time for self development and reflection. For the first time in a student’s entire life, they truly have an entire year to themselves to find their true hobbies, passions, and what makes them tick.
Over the course of the past year, I made it a point to journal, spend time in my own presence, work on my mental health, and find my niche. I can confidently say that I grew into an entirely new human being after the past year who is more confident, independent, and at peace with myself. I could not be more serious when I say I will absolutely require my children to take a year off between high school and college to find themselves. I have never experienced such rapid and deep growth than I have over the past couple of months.
If I could give any advice to the upcoming gap year students, I would say PLEASE dedicate time every single day to get to know yourself better and grow into your truest self. This time could be the difference between being your same old self and being the most authentic and stellar version of yourself. Another thing, be flexible this year. I can assure you that the gap year plans you have created down to the last detail will not go as planned. I came into this year hearing that so often, but only now understand how true it is. I have added and subtracted from my plan this year, and that’s okay! You must be comfortable knowing that change will inevitably happen to your plans but allow yourself to embrace the dynamic nature of this year. If you confine yourself to the idea that this year will go one way, and one way only, you will miss out on so many opportunities. New jobs, friends, and hobbies will present themselves and LEAN IN. Try everything you never have and find yourself.
I truly dedicate all my drive and passion to the gap year which allowed me to grow and morph into who I was always meant to be. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity and never stop hyping it up. Please, if you are an upcoming student reading this, dedicate this year to be “The Year of Finding You”.