Pros and cons of taking a gap year

Senior year is a big year spent looking at colleges, being sure you have all the credits needed, and mentally preparing yourself for the future. Deciding whether you need to take a gap year or not before continuing your education after high school may affect your entire future. 


A gap year can help you reset for your future.

Courtney Dee, Class of 2019 and receptionist at Ford of Londonderry, decided she needed a break from school when she was a senior. 

“School dragged my mental health down, and I needed a year to feel better before jumping back into school,” Dee said.


How do you know if taking a gap year is for you?

While deciding if you need or want to take a gap year, consider what you want to accomplish during the period of time you wouldn’t be attending college, trade school, etc. Whether that means travelling the world, working full time, or just sitting home and finding your true self, it all may be worth it in the end. 

A gap year could help by just seeing what you could do with your life and how you can better yourself. What you would be able to bring to the community and to the world.

“I just try to work on myself. My self care and sleeping more,” Dee said. “I’m working a lot, and I spend more time with my friends and family. When I get stressed out, I push people away, but I have not done that.”

Dee feels that a gap year could be helpful for anyone. The stress that comes with school and the expectations you are supposed to meet when in class, or at a college visit, can make some students reach an overbearing amount of stress.

“School is hard. It’s overwhelming and it’s scary, and it’s too much to handle sometimes,” Dee said. “If you need a year to get your mental health on track, work full time to make money for college or just take a year to work closely with the career you’ll be working. It’s not the end of the world to take a year off.” 


During your gap year, don’t lose sight of what you want to do next.

During Dee’s current gap year, she has thought about what to do after the gap is over. She is determined to go to Southern New Hampshire University to study business administration after her break year. She might have taken a break from school, but she has stayed in touch with her aspirations, and what future career she wants to have. 


Starting college life off immediately may be right for you.

On the other hand, freshman Jake Wrobel who attends Plymouth State University and is a cook at Romano’s Pizzeria, feels that he made the right decision to go to college rather than take a gap year. 

“I wanted to take a gap year, but I realized that I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go to school, so I went. It was the best decision I’ve made,” Wrobel said. “I’ve loved every second of it and I can’t wait to see what happens after this. I’m so glad I took the opportunity.”

The thoughts rushing through Wrobel’s head went back and forth from wanting to go, to not wanting to go. Leaving home and entering the adult world can be one of the biggest difficulties in your life. You won’t be around your family as much, and you may not be fully prepared of what to expect until the time comes, when you take the chance of heading out on your own journey. 

Wrobel had to decide if he was prepared for the change.

“I was so worried that I didn’t know what was going to happen, it was the first time that I had finally left my parents,” Wrobel said. “I had never left like that before. When I left, everything was different.”

After moving out of his hometown, Wrobel was separated from his family and friends. Leaving your closest friends behind may be difficult, but for Wrobel, leaving people behind was a good change. He matured and changed for the better, which meant his choice of friends changed a bit too.

“When I went to college, I roomed with some of my friends,” Wrobel said. “It has been awesome, but someone from my town that I wasn’t really friends with decided to go to the same college [as me] and room with people he didn’t know. He ended up being one of my best friends at school.”

Wrobel felt that going to college right after high school would benefit him more than a gap year would.

“If I waited a year I never would’ve gone to college and would’ve just worked,” Wrobel said. “I definitely recommend going to college right after you graduate because if you wait longer, you may not want to go to college and you won’t know how great it is.”


So gap year or college? It depends on what you need. 

After high school, you never know where you may end up, but always remember you have control over where you go. Talk to your school counselor, your parents and anyone else who might give you good advice. 

Listen to others’ advice, but remember it’s your life and your decision. 

Whether it’s a gap year or college, if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish and get through the change to be successful during your future. 

Do what you believe is right for you and your future.