Have you ever considered taking a gap year, or is someone you know thinking of doing so? Not sure if you should support them or tell them to keep working hard to save time?
We looked into the topic of taking a gap year for the sake of experiencing life at a certain age and protecting one’s mental health. We want to answer the question: how can a gap year improve your mental health before starting college?
What is a Gap Year
Taking a gap year essentially means taking a year off after high school and spending some time relaxing or focusing on other activities before starting college. While the statistics show that, for example, 40% of students in America consider taking a gap year, not all choose this route in the end. There are many reasons why students might want to take a year off from educational responsibilities.
Transitioning from high school to college is a tough period because it brings many responsibilities and pressure. It is only natural for students to want to take a break from that kind of environment. In some cases, a year off allows students to improve their scholarship options before starting college, while others just need some extra time to choose a career path. It is also common for students to take a year off to travel and experience the world at a young age, something they cannot do while committing to studies.
Mental Health Benefits of Taking a Gap Year
Regardless of why students choose to take a year off, they will get to experience great mental health benefits, including the following:
1. Feeling Less Pressure
Taking a year off can take some pressure off the students’ shoulders since they won’t have to decide immediately which career path they want to follow. Not everyone is just born and ready – some students take longer to decide what their next step in life is going to be. Being pressured to make such an important decision as soon as possible can leave a serious toll on people’s mental health.
2. More Time to Prepare
A gap year gives high school graduates more time to prepare for college, which is a whole experience in itself. Students who take a bit of time off will refine their scholarships and college options, which will allow them to think more clearly and develop a healthier attitude toward the whole experience.
3. Social Development
Taking a year off does not mean just sitting at home doing nothing. Most students who take a gap year use this time to socialize and participate in the world, which aids their social and personal development. Some even take up part-time jobs and internships, which contributes to skill-building as well.
4. Time to Travel
Lastly, going abroad is one of the best activities that can boost mental health. The change of environment and the excitement of visiting new places and doing new things is what is needed to maintain a good mental balance. Students who take a year off from school can spend this time abroad, which will significantly boost their mental health and levels of motivation.
Take Advantage of Your Gap Year
If you decide to take a gap year, you won’t regret taking some time for yourself. Keep in mind that if you choose to travel during your off time, you should be using a VPN service or virtual private network to ensure your data and devices are adequately protected in different countries. With that said, a gap year will boost your mental health and allow you to take things one at a time, which is especially important at such a young age.
After all, we cannot all decide overnight which career path we wish to follow and which college best aligns with those plans.