Going straight from secondary school to university/college can be challenging. I remember my induction day some time around last year, August. It was like culture shock, I didn’t know what to do with all my new-found independence and freedom. Some times, students need time to themselves to figure everything out. I decided to take a gap year from university, and I decided this rather late – late August of this year, in fact. I was about to enter my second year of Mental Health Nursing, and I begun asking myself ‘Should I take the year out from college? Is a gap year the best option?’. Here I am, as we are about to enter November, and I 100% do not regret my choice and I give myself a pat on the back everyday for that decision I made.
A few months ago, my goals were so very different. I was pretty excited to get back into college and thought the course I was doing was the right choice for me. Taking this year off so far has been so refreshing. Here’s why I think taking a gap year from college can sometimes be the best option:
You may have started University unprepared.
University introduces you to the real world, the realities of adulthood and some possible hardships you may have to face learning to stand on your own two feet. In a way, we’re all just kind of thrown in there like ‘yup, now sort yourselves out.’
I started off so very unprepared, more than most people. I never had my accommodation sorted, so I had to take the bus to college everyday from my house. It’s about an hour and a half journey, so that was pretty silly. Accommodation is also pretty expensive, and you must have money together before August even comes for deposit and first months rent. It’s so important to have these things together before you start college, because you’re only just putting strain on yourself and won’t be able to focus on passing your course. It was also quite difficult for me to get a job. I had no experience in anything, and most places are reluctant to hire students due to their availability.
Maturity wise – are you there yet?
As a first year in college, fresh out of secondary school, you must ask yourself are you at that level of maturity to manage yourself. By that I mean, managing your money more responsibly, studying enough to pass and not slacking off. You just have to be so much more level-headed and sensible with how you go about things. Your actions can implicate how well you do in your course, and you have to remember that you’re there for one reason only and that is to get a degree. But it’s kind of easy to forget that when you’re having so much fun.
Are you 100% sure that the course you are choosing is right for you?
If you are going straight from secondary school to university, then you already know that we only received such a little amount of time to know what it is we truly would like to be. Having a year to choose can be actually quite difficult. I loved my first year of nursing, but coming into placement is when I started to realise, is this really for me? I think that taking a gap year allows you to figure out what you really want to do. Find out who you truly are and what suits you best. There is nothing worse than getting a degree you later on discover you have no interest in pursuing. How many years of your life have you wasted then? What we must also remember, is that we’re still young and there is no rush to begin life. People seem to forget there is no time limit on what we can achieve. Life can flow as much as we please.
Related: The Importance of Never Giving Up
How has taking a gap year helped me?
Obviously I have not finish this gap year, I still have a long way to go. But I can share what it’s helped me with so far.
Finding work next year when I begin college again will not be a problem. For this gap year, I’ve decided to work and save up money for my accommodation next year. Because of my availability this year, finding work became no problem. I have a jobs waitressing and in the deli that has given me so much experience that I will have no issue finding work next year. It’s one less thing to worry about. I can even save up for a car, and make like so much more easier next year.
I’ve matured. Now that I have one year of college in my belt, I’ve learnt so much. How to manage my assignments, how and when to study, when to treat myself and when to have some more self discipline. To cut this story short, I’ve become more responsible.
I have more time to find myself and what I would like to be. I pretty much just jumped into nursing. Don’t get me wrong, I think I would make a great nurse. But there are other things I would love to do more research on, see if I would enjoy it. Because realistically speaking, this is the career we will have to work in for the rest of our lives. I do not want to make decisions I regret.