The Benefits Of Taking A Gap Year

12 August 2020

It’s back to school season! Though the world is still quite unnerving, I know a ton of you are heading back to school this fall. There’s a ton of old back to school content on Life Unfiltered you can find by searching “back to school” in the search bar.

Going back to school was always something that gave me a ton of anxiety. When you have a relaxing summer and then have to jump back into normal life, it’s a culture shock! Since COVID-19 has prevented many of you from going back to school this fall, whether that means having to transfer to school online or even think about taking a year off, I wanted to take you through my experience with a gap year. I’ve always been a fan of people taking gap years, pandemic or not.

One of my old assistants (hi Elizabeth!) who worked with me when I launched my nonprofit M.I.N.T. in Boston texted me yesterday and told me she’s decided to take a gap year instead of going back to college this fall. When I asked her why, she said it’s because her school is making her choose online classes or no classes and she wasn’t the proper candidate for online classes.

I can relate: I hated ALL classes (lol) when I was in middle school and high school, but a gap year was an option I kept in the back of my mind before transferring to online school. I think the perfect age to take a gap year is between 17 and 18 or 18 and 20: college will always be around. Online school felt practical for me because I was busy working on my brand when I was younger: but I kept myself on a really strict schedule. If you’re not an organized and hungry for success type of person, you might not be the person to take a gap year. You’ll have a lot of time on your hands you won’t want to waste!

I eventually ended up switching from public high school to online school (as noted in the podcast below) where I finished high school in a super short period of time. I think of my transfer to online school as basically a gap year: I gave myself some time to focus on building my career instead of jumping right into getting a “real” job (which I didn’t end up doing anyway because I went full-time with my company at a young age) and it’s a decision I’m proud of.

What’s phenomenal about a gap year is that you get a full year to truly find yourself. How many of you are in college or just about to enter college and still wondering WTF you’re going to do when you’re older? It’s not uncommon to be years through your college degree and feel unsettled with what you’ll become in the future.

I say take a gap year (especially if you’re like Elizabeth and don’t want to do any form of online school) and find yourself.

Read more books, start a blog, get a virtual internship and LIVE AT HOME! 

A gap year doesn’t mean a “free” year to do nothing: it means you’ll have to be more specific about how to plan your time and really find new activities to do. I’m a firm believer in spending more time finding out who you are and what you like which brings s stronger sense of self-awareness.

Test a gap year out: there’s nothing permanent in your life, remember that.

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