You may have just dropped your son or daughter off at a university far from home and are getting used to the new normal of one less mouth to feed. Maybe your child decided to stay at home and study at the local university or college or maybe, like my son, they decided to take a ‘gap year’.
From about Grade 10 ( or maybe even earlier), our children start getting asked the question.. ‘What do you want to do after you graduate?’.. Which translated really means ‘What post secondary school are you choosing and what are you going to study?’ While there are many kids that know and have known forever what they want to do after high school, there are many that do not and this question can bring on some anxiety. If they do not know what they want to do is there something wrong with that? Are they letting themselves and the people around them down because they don’t know.. And the answer is NO. In my opinion, there is a lot of pressure on kids to figure it out early and they think the ‘right’ thing to do is to head straight to post secondary but it might not be the right thing for them.
Taking a gap year is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be very beneficial for some kids, if they have a plan for that year. Sitting in their rooms and playing FortNite is not a plan…
So it has been just over a week now that the September school routine has started and to be honest, my son has struggled a bit with being bored and not having his close friends around. School schedules, activity schedules, playdates. There was always something on the calendar. (Which may be the fault of me..But schedules worked in our house). Now there are no schedules and there isn’t a lot of buddies around to hang out with…Time to find a new normal.
He does have a plan to work and make some money. But there are many other reasons to take a gap year.
- Gaining some independence. Although you can do this both through the gap year and at university
- Develop new life skills
- Opportunity to earn some money to save for education and gain valuable work experience
- Do some volunteering in your hometown or abroad
- Travel and experience other parts of the world
- The chance to ‘live a little’ before you have to buckle down with the responsibilities of school
- Upgrade some courses for admissions to your degree of choice
- Finding a new friend network outside of the ones that you have gone to school with for years
- Figuring out what you want to do in regards to your schooling after you have worked a bit
- Experience new interests/hobbies
Many have said that taking that a gap year really helped them to figure out what they really wanted to do. So, why not take that extra year.
So when your son or daughter comes to you and says they want to take a gap year. Say OF COURSE we support that….But with a plan 🙂