I took a two year gap year after high school. Though not for everyone, I do encourage as many high schoolers as possible to take a gap year because there are so many benefits. It’s usually for a year, but I ended up doing it for two.
The first year of my gap year was during what would have been my senior year of high school (I graduated a year early). And the second year was the year right after. During this gap year(s), I traveled to 14 countries with my family, maintained an online business to fund my own travels and interned at a digital agency in New York City.
Here’s why I decided to take a gap year:
1. I was bored in school.
Early in my high school career, I was doing life pretty averagely. I went to my local high school Mondays through Fridays, did a few AP (advanced placement) classes, tried to get good grades and fit in as much as possible.
But I was bored. Really bored. Other than being on my high school’s varsity golf team, I didn’t want to be there at all. I knew there was more to life than being miserable, having the Monday blues and learning things I had no interest in. So I took steps to graduate a year early by spending half of the day at the brick and mortar school and the other half at home, doing more classes online in order to take the gap year.
2. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
As a 15 year old, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after high school. The natural thing to do was to go to college, but I didn’t know what to study or if college was even for me. Plus, who says you must go to college right after high school? Many students don’t know what they want, enroll in college anyways and end up in tons of debt, and still don’t know what they want to do with their lives after graduating. I really wanted to avoid that scenario.
And really, how are you supposed to know what direction to take in your life at 18 (when students usually apply and start going to college), when chances are, you haven’t really experienced much in life anyways to know? My gap year helped me figure out a path, without accumulating a ton of debt.
3. I wanted to travel.
Some of my favorite memories as a kid were of traveling. I spent many summers overseas and traveling locally too. Typically a gap year is when a student travels for a year, so my gap year satisfied my yearning to travel and I hit the over 30 countries mark after the gap year.
4. I wanted to experience life beyond the norm.
I was going to my local high school in a rural area. The thing you did when you didn’t have anything to do was go to the mall or the movies… boring stuff, really. From the travels I had done with my family most summers, I knew there were other ways to experience life and my gap year allowed me to do so.
5. I wanted to speak Spanish fluently.
Along with the online high school classes I was taking, I also made time for private Spanish classes with a tutor who I met with every week. At the same time, I took more Spanish classes through Skype with a Spanish school in Uruguay, which I later attended in person during my gap year. Taking classes were great to learn grammar and vocabulary, but I felt it was time to really test my skills. I had that opportunity through traveling in South America for nine months during the gap year.
These are some of the reasons why I took a two year gap year after high school, and have never looked back since.
Have you taken a gap year? Or want to take a gap year? Let me know by leaving a comment below!