Considering a gap year?

Being 18 or 19 is a wild time of your life. Half adult, half child. You can drink, but you might still have a curfew. You can drive, but you probably can’t afford your own petrol. You’re expected to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life when months ago you had to ask permission to go to the bathroom.

18 is where life’s free tutorial ends for most of us, and just like any poorly written video game with a massive open world, you’re dumped into the universe and expected to know what to do, unlike video games, there are very few useful wikiHow’s on what to do. Leaving you to figure most of life’s mysteries out for yourself. This is why I am a massive advocate for taking a year to do so.

As someone who took a gap year, it would be extremely hypocritical to bag on a gap year, and there is no reason I would because my gap year was the best year of my life. My gap year was phenomenal because I got a taste of one of life’s most important aspects… money. “Wow Dylan that’s extremely shallow”, yes…yes, it is, and I fully accept it. Money is a lot more than money. Money means having your own independence, and it’s so much sweeter when it’s money you’ve earned. Obviously starting off with the topic of money should imply to you that gap year should equal work and, seeing as between the heading and the closing lines, it’s the world according to Dylan, a gap year should equal work.

Working straight out of school has so many benefits. During school, you’re forced to be around a whole bunch of people in your grade who, by the end of high school save for a handful of exceptions, you hate with every fibre of your being. And work environments can be just like that too! Let’s say you leave school wanting to be an actor. Getting a creative job straight out of school can make you realise that “hey I really love the ups and downs that come with creatives!” or “wow if this was 13 reasons why you would be at least 4 of my reasons”. Obviously, this is a situation that you would rather avoid.

Another great reason to invest your time into a gap year is to laugh at all of your friends who decided not to take one! From personal experience, I support taking time off from school. 12 years of study, and stress without any real control over it, take the gap year to enjoy what it’s like to be an adult. Take that break from school and head to tertiary the year afterward revitalized and ready to study something that you actually enjoy, find that passion during your gap year.

I settled with what I wanted to do with the rest of my life 6 months into my gap year. Had I studied right out of school, that would have been 6 wasted months in something that I didn’t enjoy. You might think “I studied stuff I didn’t enjoy for the whole of high school so what’s 4 more years”, but that’s just the thing, it’s not 4 years, it’s the rest of your life.

Being young is great but also extremely volatile. You change so much between 18 and 30, unfortunately, you don’t have 12 years to stay in limbo, but you owe yourself at least 1 year to make sure the rest of your life isn’t a total waste. It’s a cliché, but find yourself during your gap year, come back ready to take on the world. Come back no longer half child half adult, come back a full adult. Full adult ready to tackle life, and have fun doing it.

Dylan Cheytanov