As we move past graduation and into the summer, it’s common for students to start to feel their gap year is suddenly very *real*. Depending on the person, this realization can result in excitement, anxiety, nervous anticipation – but most commonly, a combination of all these feelings. It’s also common for students to second guess their decision on some level (“Am I making the right choice?”). If you are feeling this way about your gap year, it’s important to know that this is totally common, and there are way to work through these emotions in a healthy way so you can start getting less anxious and more excited for your gap year!

One thing to note before we go further is that no matter what a student chooses to do after graduation, there is likely going to be a similar mix of emotions or possibly second-guessing. A LOT of students want to take a gap year because they know deep down they don’t want to go straight to college, but they may not feel comfortable taking that step. In fact, I see new students throughout the summer who come to this realization later and choose to take a gap year just before starting college or a few weeks into the semester (better late than never!). So, just know that the emotions you are feeling are common with any major life transition. 

A few years ago I interviewed an incredible gap year alum for my podcast Gap Year Radio, Laura Prior-Palmer. She said simply, “Taking a gap year is brave, and anyone can be brave.” 

You CAN do this, and based on my 15+ years of informal research and the body of actual research, you will not regret this choice. But sometimes, you need a little boost, and this blog post aims to do just that.

Below you’ll see some stories, interviews and quotes from recent gappers who reflect on their choice to take gap time and talk about what they got out of it. I hope it helps move you in the direction of feeling confident in your choice and more excited about your impending gap time. I am just a text or phone call away if you want to chat more about it!

 

“[My gap year] was undisputedly one of the best experiences of my life…I have now finished my gap year and am preparing for college in the fall and can confidently say I gained so much but missed out on little to nothing (I will still experience college for the same amount of time as my peers).”

23/24 Gapper Ethan Y.

“I had the best time during my gap year and have no regrets. It’s so worth it especially if you are unsure about school maybe just being nervous about it or not sure what to study.”

23/24 Gapper Meg

After my gap year I feel more connected to the world. That the endeavors I will embark on are worthwhile and that in these I am accompanied by wonderful people. The experiences on my gap year have affirmed my own idiosyncrasies and made me appreciate those of others.”

23/24 Gapper Ben

After taking a gap year, I know myself infinitely better. I know more clearly what I want in the long shot and I have made so many lifelong friends with wildly correlating mind sets. My gap year has gotten me out of my shell and skyrocketed my confidence in both my self and my abilities.”

22/23 Gapper Innogen

“A gap year is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It is a year that is completely yours to do whatever you would like to. Before my gap year, I worried a lot about being a year behind my friends, but after graduating and taking a gap year, I’ve seen that past high school people begin to make their own paths. I have friends who went far away for college, friends who stayed home at community college, and friends who are working and didn’t go to college at all. People just start to do their own thing, and there is no longer a set path that everyone follows as there is in high school. Taking a gap year hasn’t made me feel distanced or “behind” in the way I once thought it would.

22/23 Gapper Nick

Once you take your gap year, you will think it’s crazy that everyone doesn’t 🙂.

22/23 Gapper Mercer

Hear from previous gappers on this Youtube playlist – some offer advice others tell stories and all of them will help you feel lik eyou’ve made a great choice in taking your gap year!

DYNAMY INTERNSHIP YEAR

Dynamy students (including an EnRoute student!) offer their thoughts on why a gap year was right for them (notice that different students have different reasons for taking gap time).

 

 

Be open-minded and explore all opportunities available! Step outside of your comfort zone and you might find something you never thought you would do but once in it, couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

– Bailey, Gap Alum 2019 

 

MICHELLE ZHANG

Michelle sent us this video during her gap year and offers some inspiring words about what her gap time has meant for her.

She also told me, “It would be way too long describing all the things I learned about myself on my gap year, but I’d say the most valuable things I’ve learned are “flaws” – which I can’t find a better word for- aspects about myself that I can improve on and have realized tend to come out when I put my limits to the test.”

 BLISS BEAN’S BEATRICE NAUJALYTE 

YouTube star Beatrice has taken two gap years (one due to covid) and talks about the benefits of them on her channel. In this video, she breaks down the six reasons she’s grateful for her gap time.

 

 

 

 

GAP YEAR RADIO INTERVIEW WITH JOSIAH AND RILEY

In this episode, we speak with Josiah Johnson and Riley Piva, two incredible gap year alums who dedicated time to disaster recovery with the international relief organization All Hands and Hearts.

Josiah and Riley open up about the experience volunteering in disaster relief, the mental health benefits of serving others and how you can get involved! 

“I discovered the power that my generation has to change the world. I discovered my own ability to live [on my own]! I had a chance to explore lots of parts of myself— work with my hands, head, and heart.”

– Jeremy, Gap Alum 2019 

 

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