2020, it is a year of uncertainties. And in these times of uncertainties, it is very hard to make decisions with confidence. A lot of students who graduated this year are stuck in a dilemma of whether to defer their admission and take a gap year or choose to learn through remote instructions until on-campus facilities reopen. After a monstrous amount of debate in my house, we ultimately decided to go ahead and take a gap year. There were a lot of pros and cons and promises that were made to reach the decision, but overall, it is a decision I’m extremely happy with. So, here are the main reasons I chose to take a gap year-

1. First, I wanted to mention the most evident reason I can think of, economical. The cost of studying abroad is colossal. It is a huge investment and we expect it to be worth the value. But, most colleges have kept their tuition cost the same, irrespective whether the mode of instruction is remote or on-campus. As somebody living in India, far away from the lands of U.S.A and Canada, it is most likely that most of my first year, if not all of it, will be through online classes. However, I do not believe that studying online, especially with the major time difference, will be as efficient as studying in person. When we choose to go to college, we do not only do it for the education, but also for new experiences, meeting different kinds of people and building connections and friendships, all of which is not really possible through online classes. Therefore, not only is the quality of education decreased but also the experiences that come along with going to college are not there, then I don’t think the cost is worth it.

2. Another big reason was emotional health. The coronavirus, unarguably, has had an impact on our mental health. This unusual situation has had an unusual effect on our emotional well-being. Even if I were to go to college on campus, the experience would be hindered by a bad and unhealthy state of mind. The worry of the virus affecting our families will always be there on our minds, and especially with travel being restricted it’ll be hard living away from your family knowing that even if you wanted, you might not be able be there if they needed you. The worry, anxiety and angst will definitely have an impact on how you perform in college. It’ll be much harder to adjust to a new environment, especially when you are not ready to leave behind our previous one. There is no way of actually knowing if this situation could be better by next year, but right now, with it being fresh, the impact it will have will be much stronger than next year. Instead, I’ve decided to use this year-long time to work on myself and become a stronger person emotionally, so that when I do end up going to college, I’ll be a better person, equipped with skills I would need to survive in a new country.

3. Next, I want to talk about a big advantage of choosing to take a gap year. You will have one year to yourself, free of any responsibility, and an opportunity to develop your skillset. I don’t see this year as a break or pause in my life, but instead as a Segway into the next phase in my life. This is a time period where you can learn whatever you want, without anything else burdening you down. It’s a great year to partake in internships, perhaps getting some work experience through a part-time job, or even engaging in social service to help those who are most affected by this pandemic. Though due to the lockdown, it might be hard to get access to classes you want to take up, where there’s a will there’s a way. Right now specifically, there are a plethora of online classes at your disposable which you can take advantage of. A personal experience of mine; I’m a passionate dancer, and it was very hard on me to learn that dance studios will be closed for a long time, probably for the rest of the year. But I realized that the same will be applicable over the rest of the world, meaning most of the dance classes will be taken online. This gave me a chance to learn and interact with international dancers who were my big-time role models. It was such a great opportunity, one that probably wouldn’t have been possible without this pandemic occurring. Thanks to the internet you have a way of learning through people you consider your inspiration, again a chance of a lifetime, as many of these people do not take classes online the rest of the year. You have the chance to interact and learn with people from all over the world, making you feel more connected than ever.

4. The last reason I decided to take a gap year, is to reapply. I decided that since I have so much time on my hands, it might be a good idea to study and re-sit the SAT. There were some very good colleges I wanted to apply to but chose not to because of my SAT score. I want to give the test again, much more prepared this year, get an even better score, and apply to some of my dream colleges. Again, as I mentioned in the previous point, if you end up taking certified online courses or doing an internship, that also adds to your resume. I also wanted to take this time to amp up my skills and bring my portfolio to a higher level.

These are all of my major reasons for deciding to take a year. I think a major factor, which affects this decision, is the taboo of taking a gap year, especially in our Indian society. Unless it is to study for a major competitive exam, this concept or even the thought of taking a gap year is just not present. I personally decided to take a gap year and deferred my admission to the fall term, 2021, and my parents have already had people expressing ‘concern’ over what I’ll do over the next year. Taking a gap year is not a waste of time unless YOU make it to be. The year will define your choices, and nobody else’s. If you do decide to take a gap year, it would be a good idea to set some goals and define a path for yourself, so you know where to go in the following year. Thank you for reading and I hope whatever decision you take ends well.

~Yashna Gupta – a PPRO EED student~

Leave a Reply

Looking for College counselling and guidance?