You just graduated high school, what’s next? Going to college/university. You finished your undergraduate degree, what’s next? Get your master’s degree, what’s next? Get your PhD, find a job, buy a house, build a family, etc…
This is the mindset I have grown up witnessing from the people around me. In between finishing school, graduating university and finding a job there is a huge gap people tend to disregard: LIFE.
The purpose of my first blog is to give you five reasons why I chose to defer college for one year, which will hopefully answer many questions I have been getting regarding this topic.
Unfortunately, schools do not prepare us to face real life outside of our protected bubbles. Knowing how plants generate oxygen and organic products using photosynthesis or calculating the dimensions of a field that will enclose the largest area using optimization in calculus might be useful information; however, how much of what we learn in class do we use on a typical day from our lives? I am not implying that the information we receive in class is not important, but have you ever asked yourself how much of that information would help you if you were lost in a city full of people who do not speak your language? Or if you were to use public transportation for the first time? Or how to avoid danger in certain situations? These are things we learn through experience. Cambridge Dictionary defines experience as “(the process of getting) knowledge or skill that is obtained from doing, seeing, or feeling things, or something that happens which has an effect on you”. How will you ever get this experience if you never get out of your comfort zone to encounter them in the first place?
When an opportunity comes knocking your door, do not shut it out because “it can wait”. Life is not only about getting a diploma and finding a job. There is nothing chasing you to finish university first in order to unlock your door for opportunities. “The right time” does not exist; you create it.
As I received a perfect opportunity that flared me with interest, I decided to go for it! I applied for a gap year program called Global Citizen Year – which is a program that places you in a country you have never lived in before and allows you to experience their culture and daily life while you live with a host family, attend language classes, training seminars and have an apprenticeship based on your interests.
3- Have reasons and a purpose:
One does not necessarily have to sketch an entire plan of their life in order to do something. Having a few important reasons and a purpose that motivate you to want to do something is sufficient. For instance, my love for cultures and languages was the primary motivation to want to apply to this program.
Some other reasons (but are not limited to) are:
– Being comfortable living in a different environment
– Experiencing other ways of living
– Finding my own healthy balance in life (such as independence and responsibility)
– Learning to be independent
– The opportunity of having an apprenticeship (in a different language)
– Learning a new language
– Immersing myself in an unfamiliar culture
4- Getting out of your comfort zone:
Nothing interesting ever happens in that zone where you do not get yourself out there to try new things, some of which you will never know you love if you never try them! You do not have to know every single detail, sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith! Does the idea of trying something new scare you? Do it! Overcoming fears and challenges, acquiring new skills, experiencing an unknown… (basically, all the interesting things in life) require you to step out of your comfort zone and get out there! Speaking from my own experience, numerous obstacles may come in your way, do not let them discourage you, it is simply part of your journey.
5- Make an impact:
Upon hearing the phrase, “make an impact” people often think of changing the world. “Changing the world” is a big statement, you alone do not have the responsibility to change the whole world. However, think about all the lives you have touched/can touch throughout your life. Maybe your favorite book you gave to that little boy made him want to become an author, or that small conversation you had with an old lady on the street made her put a smile on her face for the whole day. An impact, as tiny as it may seem is still powerful.
I am not here to change the world by myself, but I hope my positive actions, combined with all of yours could lead to us having a better world.
These are my personal reasons to why I decided to take a gap year between high school and college. My final advice is: whether you decide to defer college or not, make sure you are not trapped inside of your comfort zone, get out there and experience life!
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